National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
                         Celebration of Freedom


United States Senate

Carl Levin

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)
Sponsor of the 2013 Juneteenth Independence Day Legislation
in the U.S. Senate

Current Legislation

S. RES. 175 -- Whereas news of the end of slavery did not reach frontier areas of the United States, and in particular the Southwestern States, for more than 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln's... (Agreed to Senate - ATS)





1st Session


S. RES. 175

Observing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day.




June 19, 2013

Mr. Levin (for himself, Mr. Cornyn, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Cowan, Mr. Harkin, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Leahy,   Mr. Brown, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Hagan, Mrs. Murray, Mr.
Pryor, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Coons, Mrs. Boxer,   Mr. Warner, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Cruz, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Kaine, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Risch, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Wicker, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Casey, Mr. Begich, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, and Ms. Warren) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


Observing Juneteenth Independence Day, June 19, 1865, the day on which slavery finally came to an end in the United States.

Whereas news of the end of slavery did not reach the frontier areas of the United States, and in particular the Southwestern States, for more than 2\1/2\ years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation         Proclamation, which was issued on January 1, 1863, months after the conclusion of the Civil War;

Whereas, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and 
that the enslaved were free;

Whereas African Americans who had been slaves in the Southwest celebrated June 19, commonly known as "Juneteenth Independence Day'', as inspiration 
and encouragement for future generations;

Whereas African Americans from the Southwest, for more than 145 years, continue the tradition of observing Juneteenth Independence Day;

Whereas 42 States, the District of Columbia, and other countries, including Goree Island, Senegal (a former slave port), have designated Juneteenth
Independence Day
as a special day of observance in recognition of the emancipation of all slaves in the United States;

Whereas Juneteenth Independence Day celebrations have been held to honor African-American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures;

Whereas the faith and strength of character demonstrated by former slaves and their descendants remain an example for all people of the United States, 
regardless of background, religion, or race;

Whereas the late Lula Briggs Galloway of Saginaw, Michigan--author, social activist, curator of African-American history, originator of the interim Juneteenth Creative Culture Center and Museum in Saginaw, Michigan, and then-President of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage, Inc. -- successfully worked to bring national recognition to Juneteenth Independence Day and encouraged the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives to pass a resolution in 1997 in honor of that day;

Whereas national observance of Juneteenth Independence Day continues under the steadfast leadership of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation;

Whereas Frederick Douglass, born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in Maryland in 1818, escaped from slavery and became a leading writer, orator, and publisher, and one of the United States' most influential advocates for abolitionism, and the equality of all people;

Whereas, on September 10, 2012, and September 12, 2012, the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, each passed legislation, signed into law by the President on September 20, 2012 (Public Law 112-174), to direct the Joint Committee on the Library to accept a statue depicting Frederick Douglass from the District of Columbia and to provide for the permanent display of the statue in Emancipation Hall of the United States Capitol, during an unveiling Ceremony on June 19, 2013, the same day as recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day;

Whereas, on June 18, 2009, the United States Senate and on July 29, 2008, the United States House of Representatives each adopted resolutions 
apologizing for the legacy of slavery in the United States and ``Jim Crow'' laws;

Whereas the crime of lynching succeeded slavery, and on June 13, 2005, the United States Senate adopted a resolution apologizing to the victims of lynching and the descendants of those victims;

Whereas slavery was not officially abolished until the ratification of the 13th amendment to the Constitution of the United States in January 1865; and

Whereas, over the course of its history, the United States has grown into a symbol of democracy and freedom around the world:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate--

            (1) recognizes the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day to the United States;
            (2) supports the continued nationwide celebration of Juneteenth Independence Day to provide an opportunity for the  people of the United States to learn more about the past and to better understand the experiences that have shaped the United States; and

            (3) recognizes that the observance of the end of slavery is a part of the history and heritage of the United States.

Juneteenth Historical
Archives Press Release


U.S. Senator For Mississippi
Senate Majority Leader
Contact: Susan Irby

                     Trent Lott


(Washington, DC) - An unprecedented observance of Juneteenth Independence Day, the commemoration of the end of slavery, will be held in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building during the first week of June, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi announced today. Juneteenth Independence Day refers to the time in mid-June 1865 when word of emanciaption reached America's southwestern frontier. "Since that time, Juneteenth has been celebrated to commemorate the end of slavery and to honor those who endured slavery, especially those who moved from slavery to freedom," Lott said.

On April 10 the Senate adopted legislation officially recognizing Juneteenth Independence Day and encouraging its observance. The measure, Senate Joint Resolution 11, was introduced by Senator Lott and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Cosponsoring the measure were Senators: Spencer Abraham of Michigan, John Ashcroft of Missouri, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Phil Graham of Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, Carl Levin of Michigan, Connie Mack of Florida, and Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois. A companion resolution has been introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representative J.C. Watts of Oklahoma.

Lott saluted the work of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage with whom he will be planning the upcoming observance. "Juneteenth Independence Day is an opportunity for all Americans to better understand our nation's common past," Lott said.

The full text of the Senate-passed resolution follows:

Commemorating "Juneteenth Independence Day," June 19, 1865, the day on which slavery finally came to an end in the United States.

Whereas, news of the end of slavery came late to the frontier areas of the country, especially in the American Southwest,

Whereas the African-Americans who had been slaves in the Southwest thereafter celebrated June 19th as the anniversary of their emancipation,

Whereas their descendants handed down that tradition from generation to generation as an inspiration and encouragement for future generations,

Whereas Juneteenth celebrations have thus been held for 130 years to honor the memory of all those who endured slavery and especially those who moved from slavery to freedom,

Whereas their example of faith and strength of character remains a lesson for all Americans today, regardless of background or region or race, now, therefore, be it


That the annual observance of June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day is an important and enriching part of our country's history and heritage, and

That the celebration of Juneteenth provides an opportunity for all Americans to learn more about our common past and to better understand the experiences that have shaped our nation, and

That a copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage as an expression of appreciation for its role in promoting the observance of Juneteenth Independence Day


                     Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
                      Sponsor of S. Res. 516
                         (Passed - 6/19/06)


                       Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
                       Sponsor of S. Res. 231
                         (Passed - 6/19/07
                       Sponsor of S. Res. 584
                           (Passed 6/17/08)


                        Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL)
                        Sponsor of S. Res. 198
                           (Passed - 6/19/09)

                         Sponsor of S. Res. 559
                           (Passed - 6/16/10)

                   View Image


                      Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)
                     Sponsor of S. Res. 211
                        (Passed - 6/16/11)

                     Sponsor of S. Res. 496
                        (Passed - 6/19/12)

                     Sponsor of S. Res. 175
                        (Passed - 6/19/13)

                         Carl Levin