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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 53-3-85 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE NINETEENTH DAY OF JUNE OF EACH YEAR IS DESIGNATED AS "JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM DAY" TO COMMEMORATE AND REFLECT ON THE FREEDOM OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATE AND NATION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The General Assembly finds and declares that:
(1) On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, to enforce President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and declare freedom for all slaves. Each year afterward, former Texas slaves and their descendents joined in a celebration of freedom on June nineteenth, and the day became known as "Juneteenth".
(2) Across our nation, Americans continue to celebrate Juneteenth, a day to reflect on the sufferings of slavery and to remember the joyful declaration of freedom. It is a time of rejoicing with family and friends and a time for planning the future.
(3) In South Carolina, the Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Day gives us the opportunity to commemorate the heritage of our thriving African-American population. As we honor the courage and fortitude of their ancestors, we renew our commitment to combat injustice with the triumphant spirit of freedom.
SECTION 2. Chapter 3, Title 53 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 53-3-85. The nineteenth day of June of each year is designated as 'Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Day' to commemorate and reflect on the freedom of African Americans and their contributions to this State and nation."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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