BABA GENE STEPHENSON – PRESIDENT
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 18, 2021
AAHGS Commends President Biden’s Signing of Legislation for
Juneteenth Holiday; Role of Historical and Genealogical Society
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) President Baba Gene Stephenson today commended President Joseph R. Biden and both Houses of Congress making Juneteenth (June 19) the nation’s 11th federal holiday, and noted the significance of historical and genealogical study. The holiday has been celebrated in 46 states.
“Although Juneteenth emanates from the 1863 issuance of the Proclamation Emancipation, the realization of freedom for all from chattel slavery came when word reached the last village, the last plantation and the last person, and that was in the State of Texas,” said Stephenson. “It is crystal clear from the heroic diligence of genealogist Ms. Opal Lee that probing family history preserves Black History.”
Stephenson added, “While July 4th is the nation’s birthday, full-citizenship, freedom and independence did not accommodate Afro-Americans, and the Juneteenth holiday makes it clear that for Afro-Americans June 19th is just as important as July 4th.
The Juneteenth federal holiday takes a giant step forward in reconciling the sin of chattel slavery, 156 years after the last person was free. It also justly recognizes the contributions and perseverance of the laborious efforts of Afro-American heroes of the 19th century, morally-bound Quakers, dogmatic abolitionists, civil rights freedom fighters, and grassroots genealogical societies