2014 -- S 3131

Enacted 06/20/14


S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N




Introduced By: Senator Harold M.Metts

Date Introduced: June 20, 2014




WHEREAS, First observed one hundred and forty-nine years ago, Juneteenth National

Freedom Day is the oldest and only African-American holiday observance in the United States;


     WHEREAS, Also known as Emancipation Day, Emancipation Celebration, Freedom

Day, Jun-Jun, and Juneteenth, Juneteenth National Freedom Day commemorates the strong

survival instinct of African-Americans who were first brought to this country stacked in the

bottom of slave ships in a month-long journey across the Atlantic Ocean known as the Middle

Passage; and

     WHEREAS, Approximately eleven and one-half million African-Americans survived the

voyage to the New World, with the number that died likely greater, and those who did survive

were subjected to whipping, castration, branding, and rape, and were forced to submit to slavery

for more than two hundred years after their arrival in the United States; and

     WHEREAS, Events in the history of the United States that led to the Civil War of 1861

centered around sectional differences between the North and South that were based on the

economic and social divergence caused by the existence of slavery; and

     WHEREAS, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States in 1861,

and as President, Lincoln believed and stated that the paramount object of the Civil War was to

save the Union rather than to save or destroy slavery; and

     WHEREAS, But Lincoln also stated his belief that all men everywhere should be free,

thus adding to the growing anticipation of slaves that their ultimate liberation was at hand; and

     WHEREAS, In 1862, the first clear sign that the end of slavery was imminent came when

laws abolishing slavery in the territories of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico

were passed; and

     WHEREAS, In September of that same year, President Lincoln warned the eleven

rebellious Confederate States that if they did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863, he

would declare their slaves forever free via the celebrated Emancipated Proclamation; and

     WHEREAS, Enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, however, only occurred in

Confederate States once they were under Union Army control and Congress subsequently passed

the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution on January 31, 1865, abolishing slavery

throughout the United States and its territories; and

WHEREAS, News of this action reached the states at different times, and it was not until

June 19 of 1865, that the message of freedom reached the slaves in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana,

Arkansas, and California; and

    WHEREAS, Spontaneous celebrations erupted throughout the country when African-

Americans learned of their freedom; and

   WHEREAS, Juneteenth National Freedom Day celebrates the abolishment of slavery

with excitement and great joy and is a reminder to all Americans of the status and importance that

Americans of African descent hold as American citizens; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

hereby urges the citizens of the State of Rhode Island to recognize the historical significance of

Juneteenth Independence Day and to observe Juneteenth National Freedom Day on June 19th; and

be it further

     RESOLVED, That this Senate supports the annual celebration of Juneteenth National

Freedom Day in order to provide an opportunity for the people of the state to learn more about

our country’s past and to better understand the experiences that have shaped our nation; and be it


     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Governor of the State of Rhode Island and

Reverend Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.