the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the President on the Observance of Juneteenth

On this day in 1865, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the word finally came down to slaves in Galveston, Texas, that they were free and entitled to the same “absolute equality of rights” and “right to property” protected under law.

It would take many more years and many more struggles before African-Americans received full and equal treatment under the law.  But today, here and around the world, we commemorate Juneteenth as a time to celebrate the rich heritage and significant contributions of African-Americans, and to recommit ourselves – as Americans – to the enduring pursuit of a more perfect union and to the eternal principles of liberty and justice for all.