Republican United States Senator Tom Cotton, (Arkansas), said the Juneteenth holiday “is a fitting addition to our national holidays.”
“On Independence Day, we celebrate our Declaration of Independence and our country’s birth on the principle of the natural equality of all mankind,” Cotton said in a statement.
“On Martin Luther King Day and now Juneteenth, we remember our striving to live up to our founding principles in practice. On Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we honor those who fought and died for our country and its noble heritage. And we give thanks to God on Thanksgiving for the blessings of liberty and prosperity. So, on this first national holiday of Juneteenth, let us all take pride in our great nation and the strides it has made to realize fully the promise of America.”
Juneteenth is the date that marks the true end of slavery in the United States.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, news of it did not reach Texas until more than two years later when union troops entered Galveston on June 19, 1865, and informed the residents that slavery was abolished.
The news was greeted by former slaves with dancing, prayer, feasting and music.
The first anniversary of that day was the first Juneteenth celebration in Texas and the commemoration eventually made its way into other states. Texas made the day a state holiday in 1980.