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 Home > News & Policies > June 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 15, 2005

Presidential Message on Juneteenth

I send greetings to all Americans celebrating Juneteenth.

Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, bringing the news that the Civil War had ended and that the Emancipation Proclamation, signed over 2 years earlier, had declared all slaves to be free persons. This historic day is celebrated to remember the end of slavery. Emancipation demonstrated our country's belief in liberty and equality for every citizen, and was a profound recognition that each and every American has rights, dignity, and matchless value.

One hundred forty years later, the Juneteenth observance continues to remind us of our country's founding principles of liberty and justice for all. As we mark the anniversary of the end of servitude, we also recognize the many contributions of African Americans to our culture. African Americans have helped shape our country's character, enhanced the diversity that makes America strong, and contributed to the vitality, success, and prosperity of our Nation. Juneteenth is a day that stands for the dignity and equality of all citizens, regardless of race, so that all may share the blessings of freedom that America provides.

Laura and I send our best wishes on this special occasion. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.