​Together Frankfort

Together Frankfort Resolution 2021 - 001


A resolution adopted in principle by Together Frankfort’s Coordinators on May 24, 2021, at the regularly scheduled meeting, Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort, KY.  

Barbara Hadley Smith, Together Frankfort Chair


Title:  A Resolution Calling on Kentucky's Members of Congress to support legislation making Juneteenth a national holiday, and calling on elected officials, organizations, higher education institutions, and individuals in Kentucky, and specifically in Frankfort and Franklin County, to contact Kentucky's Members of Congress, urging support for legislation making Juneteenth a national holiday


WHEREAS,

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19, based on the June 19, 1865 event, in which Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the American Civil War and the end of slavery in states which had seceded from the Union[1]; and

WHEREAS,

Although the Emancipation Proclamation came two and one-half years earlier on January 1,1863, many enslavers continued to hold enslaved people captive after the announcement, so that Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom; and

WHEREAS,

For Kentucky, the story of emancipation was an even more prolonged case, since Kentucky did not secede and remained in the Union even while Kentuckians fought on both sides of the Civil War. Because Kentucky did not secede, the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply in the Commonwealth; and

 WHEREAS,

 Congress, in 1865, passed the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime, which had to be ratified by 27 of the then 36 states. Kentucky did not ratify it. Instead, federal law forced Kentucky’s enslavers to emancipate enslaved people in December of 1865 when the 13th Amendment had the approval of three-fourths of the states; and,

 WHEREAS,

Juneteenth is not at present a federal holiday, although most states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation recognizing it as an official holiday or an observance, in varying levels of observance; and

 WHEREAS,

In 2005, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted KRS 2.147 Juneteenth National Freedom Day, declaring that the nineteenth of June each year shall be observed as "Juneteenth National Freedom Day,” that the Governor shall proclaim June 19 as "Juneteenth National Freedom Day and will encourage all Kentuckians celebrating this day to honor and reflect on the significant roles that African Americans have played in the history of the United States; and[2]

WHEREAS,

This declaration by Kentucky’s legislators and signed by the Governor of the Commonwealth emphasizes the important significance of African American heritage in our Commonwealth’s history; and

WHEREAS,

Since 1866, cities in the Commonwealth including Allensville, Beaver Dam, Benham, Bowling Green, Columbia, Covington, Crofton, Cumberland, Earlington, Elkton, Hartford, Hopkinsville, Lancaster, Lexington, Louisville​, Lynch, Maysville, Paducah, Pembroke [3] have celebrated emancipation, under the banner of various names, including Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, Eighth of August, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day; and

 WHEREAS,

National organizations have endorsed proposals that Juneteenth be declared a national holiday, to be established by vote of the United States Congress, including Black Lives Matter, Juneteenth.Com, Juneteenth Foundation, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, and the U.S. Travel Association, and

WHEREAS,

Four lawmakers, Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), under the leadership of Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, have reintroduced the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, H.R.7232 as Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,  which would make Juneteenth a national holiday, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers co-sponsored the bill including Democrats Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), as well as Republicans Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Independent Bernie Sanders (Vt.);[4]

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

Together Frankfort, a civic engagement organization based in Frankfort, Kentucky, supports the enactment of legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday, such as is proposed in H.R.7232, Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, with paid leave for federal employees; and

Together Frankfort will encourage Kentucky’s Members of Congress to co-sponsor and support the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act; and

Together Frankfort will transmit a copy of this resolution to Frankfort’s representatives in both the Kentucky Senate and the House of Representatives, the Franklin County Judge Executive and Magisterial Board, the Frankfort Mayor and Board of Commissioners, urging their consideration and support of Juneteenth as a national holiday; and

Together Frankfort will transmit a copy of this resolution to other organizations in Frankfort and in Kentucky, urging their support.

Finalized & approved on this date: Tuesday, June 2, 2021

Barbara Hadley Smith, Chair
Karen Carey, Secretary


[1] Juneteenth: Fact Sheet, Updated June 3, 2020, Congressional Research Service, https://crsreports.congress.gov, Report number: R44865; Molly Higgins; Reference and Digital Services Librarian

[2] Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky Revised Statutes, KRS 2.147 Juneteenth National Freedom Day. <https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=54> accessed May 5, 2021

[3] “Newspaper Records of Emancipation Day Celebrations In Kentucky,’ May 2021, monograph, Karen Armstrong-Cummings, research in Newspapers.com, NewspaperArchives.com, Google.

[4] Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Make Juneteenth National Holiday, by Derek Major, February 26, 2021, Black Enterprise, https://www.blackenterprise.com/lawmakers-reintroduce-bill-to-make-juneteenth-national-holiday/

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