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

McGuire to Speak at Juneteenth Day in Anchorage
Park Strip Celebration Commemorates Freedom, End of Slavery

For Immediate Release: June 15, 2001
Contact: Jim Pound, Legislative Aide to Rep. Lesil McGuire, at (907) 269-0250

(ANCHORAGE) – Rep. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage), who sponsored legislation recognizing Juneteenth Day as a state holiday, will speak at the annual celebration of freedom on the Delaney Park Strip on Saturday, June 16 at 3 p.m. on the main stage.

"Juneteenth Day is an opportunity for all Alaskans to celebrate our freedom, and especially to recall the tribulations of African-Americans for whom this freedom was a hard-fought prize," McGuire said today. "While Alaskans have been celebrating Juneteenth Day for years, I’m looking forward to taking part in its first observation as an official state holiday tomorrow."

McGuire’s House Bill 100, passed by the Alaska Legislature in the recently concluded regular session, establishes the third Saturday of June as "Juneteenth Day," an unpaid state holiday. 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 calls on the public and civic groups to reflect on the suffering and sacrifice millions of slaves endured and to celebrate the unique freedom and equality that all Americans enjoy today.

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Related Links

· McGuire to Speak at Juneteenth Day in Anchorage

· Alaska Gets "Juneteenth Day" Holiday

· McGuire Bill Honors "Juneteenth Day"