Proclamation recognizes ‘Juneteenth’ in Kentucky


FILE – This Feb. 18, 2005, file photo shows the original Emancipation Proclamation on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives in Washington. President Abraham Lincoln first issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves free in Confederate territory on Sept. 22, 1862. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Wednesday, June 17, 2020, recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state employees to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the U.S. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed a proclamation to recognize June 19, 2020, as “Juneteenth – National Freedom Day” in the Commonwealth.

The governor says he believes this is the first time “Juneteenth” has been formally recognized in the state. He also plans to ask the state legislature to recognize the day as a state holiday through legislation that would have to pass in the next general assembly.

“We hope by this time next year, it will be one of our official state holidays,” Beshear said.

“Juneteenth” recognizes the day Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas to bring news the Civil War had ended and read General Order Number Three, which stated in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, all enslaved people were now free. The day is often considered the “true end of slavery,” according to the governor, as it was the day the order was read to the last part of the country.

“During these times, again, when we have heard voice and seen the frustration of hundreds of years of ramifications of slavery, discrimination, of Jim Crow, of segregation, I think it’s more and more important that we remind everybody of this dark chapter of our history and that its impacts continue to linger, and that we celebrate the dates that at least portions of it ended.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

He also said as the pandemic has shown large gaps in healthcare for minority populations, his goal is to find a way to make sure all Kentuckians have healthcare coverage.

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