A bill calling for an official proclamation by the Governor to commemorate Juneteenth was recently signed into law by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Authored by State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-58B) and by State Sen. Linda Higgins (DFL-58), the new law creates an opportunity for the governor to issue a proclamation recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth.
“On a day when people of all races, nationalities and religions from across the country join hands to acknowledge a period in our history that continues to shape our society today, it’s fitting that the leader of our state weighs in to help us reflect, remember and continue to move forward in a positive way,” said Champion following the bill’s passage.
Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Set for the third Saturday in June, it recognizes the public pronouncement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was read for the first time publicly in Texas. The announcement came two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and two months after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in April 1865.