Reid Statement on 147th Juneteenth
June 19, 2012
Washington, D.C.- Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement in honor of the 147th anniversary Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and informed Galveston’s slaves that they were free.
“The end of slavery brought about a new era of freedom and liberty, and Juneteenth is a time to take pause and recognize how far we have come as a nation. Since that day, we have broken down barriers of prejudice to forge an American identity characterized by acceptance and tolerance. As we recognize this historic time in June, we are reminded that the struggle for freedom endures for many individuals in America. We must honor the memory of all who struggled under slavery’s oppression and remain relentless in the fight to achieve equality for everyone.
“In March, I joined my friend Congressman John Lewis and other members of Congress to unveil a new marker that honors the contributions of slave laborers who built the U.S. Capitol. The men and women who cut and hauled the stones to form the walls of this building never had the opportunity to enjoy the basic liberties which the building came to represent. The marker reminds us the Capitol, like this nation, was built by many men and women who never lived free, but were able to envision a free future.
“I am proud that slavery was outlawed in Nevada from the time our state joined the Union in 1864. We call the brave people who settled in the West American pioneers. In Nevada, these pioneers crossed more than one frontier by creating a state founded on ideals of individual freedoms. I hope all Nevadans and Americans join me today to honor the anniversary of Juneteenth.”