JUNETEENTH INDEPENDENCE DAY; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 102
(Senate - June 19, 2018)

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[Pages S4032-S4033]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


 Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I would like to recognize today, 
June 19, as Juneteenth Independence Day. We are celebrating the 153rd 
anniversary of the date on which slavery legally came to an end in the 
United States. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the 
Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery in the United States, but it 
still took 2 and a half years for this news to spread throughout all 
the Southern States. Today, we honor the faith and strength 
demonstrated by former slaves and the descendants of these individuals, 
who remain an example for all people of the United States, no matter 
their background, religion, or race. It is my hope that Juneteenth and 
the Emancipation Proclamation serve as a reminder of the progress the 
United States has made towards equality and the ways in which we can 
still improve.
  Mr. BOOKER. Mr. President, I rise today to honor Juneteenth 
Independence Day, a day that commemorates June 19, 1865, as the date on 
which slavery came to an end in the United States. On this day, over 
150 years ago, and over 2 and half years after President Abraham 
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Texas became the final 
State where the abolishment of slavery took effect.
  On this day, we must confront the ugly parts of our history and honor 
the slaves who suffered and died under a repressive regime. We must 
also pay tribute to all those who had the strength

[[Page S4033]]

and conviction to fight to end slavery and keep our Union together.
  Juneteenth Independence Day is also an important moment to recognize 
how far we have come and take note of how far we have yet to go. At the 
time the Constitution was drafted, Native Americans were referred to as 
savages, African Americans were fractions of human beings, and women 
were not referred to at all. The genius of our Constitution wasn't its 
perfection, but rather that it inspired each generation to expand the 
concepts of liberty and freedom and make our Nation's promise real for 
more and more people. We must not rest until that liberty and freedom 
is real for all people, and this Juneteenth let us all recommit to 
helping our country live up to its fundamental promise and highest