Thursday, June 17, 2010

Governor Douglas Proclaims Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Vermont

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas has proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Vermont. Juneteenth, the oldest African-American holiday observance in the nation, celebrates the abolition of slavery in the United States.

“From our founding, Vermonters have been committed to protecting and preserving the freedoms of our fellow citizens,” Governor Douglas said. “In our founding document, the 1777 Constitution, slavery was explicitly prohibited.”

Although President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862, slavery continued during the Civil War. On June 18, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. The next day, June 19, 1865, General Granger is reported to have read aloud General Order No.3, declaring all slaves free. Later that year the 13th Amendment became effective when it was ratified by Georgia on December 6, 1865, officially abolishing slavery throughout United States.

Governor Jim DouglasIn 2008, the General Assembly passed and Governor Douglas signed into law H. 432, An Act Establishing Juneteenth National Freedom Day. Act 201 of the 2007-2008 Biennium established the third Saturday in June as a commemorative state holiday.

Source: Office of the Governor

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