22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from Representative Lesil McGuire

Portrait of Representative Lesil McGuire, 123.4 K. Session:
State Capitol, Room 418
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2995
Fax: (907) 465-6592

716 W. 4th Ave., Suite 430
Anchorage, AK 99501-2133
Phone: (907) 269-0250
Fax: (907) 269-0249

Alaska Gets
"Juneteenth Day" Holiday
Measure Commemorates End of Slavery
Honors African-Americans

For Immediate Release:

March 22, 2001


Representative Lesil McGuire at (907) 465-2995

(JUNEAU) - The Alaska Legislature took the final step in creating an official "Juneteenth Day" holiday to commemorate the end of slavery and celebrate the freedom of all Alaskans, when the Senate today passed Rep. Lesil McGuire's House Bill 100.

McGuire (R-Anchorage), introduced the bill to create an unpaid holiday marking the abolition of slavery in the United States, and highlighting the achievements of African-Americans in Alaska.

"Alaskans come from a wide variety of social, cultural and racial backgrounds, including many whose ancestors suffered under slavery before their emancipation by Abraham Lincoln," said McGuire. "Juneteenth Day will give every member of the Alaska family the chance to share in the commemoration of that emancipation and to celebrate the strength of our diversity."

President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in all territories still at war with the Union as of Jan. 1, 1863. In doing so he extended to slaves the promise of freedom embodied in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, McGuire said.

Juneteenth Day was first celebrated by freed slaves in Galveston, Texas who only received news of their emancipation on June 19, 1865. Because the third Saturday in June falls on the 16th, 17th, 18th or 19th of the month, the celebration has become known as Juneteenth Day.

HB 100 encourages civic groups and members of the public to observe and reflect on the suffering of the millions of people held in slavery, and to celebrate the freedom and equality that all Americans enjoy today. HB 100 now goes to the governor for his signature.

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