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WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement in honor of Juneteenth. This week, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which established Juneteenth as a Federal holiday.

In commemorating Juneteenth, Rep. Lieu highlighted the value in preserving and learning from firsthand accounts of slavery, such as the Slave Narrative Project, a collection of more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 photographs of formerly enslaved persons. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the original Federal Writers’ Project. Rep. Lieu has introduced legislation to revive the Federal Writers’ Project in the 21st century.

“It is my honor to commemorate Juneteenth, which I’m pleased has now become a Federal holiday. On this day in 1865, the last enslaved people in the U.S. were told they were free – marking the official end of slavery in our country. In the face of adversity, Black Americans have shaped our nation for the better – yet they still face systemic racism that is deeply rooted in many of our institutions. On Juneteenth, we thank the fearless leaders of the abolitionist movement and recognize that the freedom granted from slaves’ emancipation won’t be fully realized until we dismantle and remedy the systematic racism that persists in our country today.

“As we honor this day, let us recommit to educating ourselves on this horrific chapter in our nation’s history. Much of what we know about the horrors of slavery comes from the firsthand accounts of those who were enslaved. I am incredibly grateful to the brave men and women who told their stories of enslavement, and those who worked to uplift those stories. For the sake of future generations, we must ensure we can learn from the mistakes of our past – and projects like the Slave Narrative Project enable us to do so.”


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