CBC Chair Beatty Joyous Juneteenth Rightfully Recognized as National Holiday
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, S. 475, a piece of legislation to establish a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Following the historic vote, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, issued the following statement:
“Black history is American history, and I am proud that Congress is following the lead of the Congressional Black Caucus in reaffirming that sacred principle—because we can’t change the future if we can’t acknowledge the past. The truth is that our nation is still reeling from racial disparities, unequal treatment, and social injustices that are long-standing vestiges of slavery in America. That is why the Conscience of Congress will continue to fight and lead the congressional charge to break down barriers, ensure justice for all, and address systemic discrimination faced by Black Americans. This is Our Power, Our Message.”
On June 19, 1865, more than two years after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers—led by General Gordon Granger—arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War was over and all previously enslaved people were free. This occasion is now observed as “Juneteenth”
Prior to the historic vote, Beatty called on her colleagues to support the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. An archived recording of Beatty’s full speech can be viewed on YouTube.
Also, of note, Beatty is the author of the Black History is American History Act, H.R. 1394, a bill that would mandate the inclusion of Black history as a required component of the American History and Civics Academies’ competitive grants administered by the U.S. Department of Education, incentivizing schools and educators to teach Black history like that of Juneteenth in classrooms across the country.