OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, today announced that he will file legislation for the next legislative session to make June 19 a state holiday in honor of Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is a nationally recognized celebration that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Texas finally got word that the Confederacy had conceded and that the war and chattel slavery in America was over.
“Juneteenth is a day of celebration in the Black community,” Lowe said. “It recognizes the official end to a period of American history that allowed the ownership of people. June 19, 1865, was not just the last day that Blacks experienced chattel slavery. It was the last day that Americans did too, and that is something we should all celebrate together.”
Lowe hopes to move the legislation forward quickly and sees Oklahoma, due to its history of the Tulsa Race Massacre, as a potential leader in this movement.
“Nearly 100 years ago, Black Wall Street burned down during the Tulsa Race Massacre,” Lowe said. “What a powerful message of freedom it would be if we stood together 100 years later to recognize the day chattel slavery ended in America.”