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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2021 09:55 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes and Sen. Art Haywood, Sen. Sharif Street, Sen. Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Recognizing February 3rd as “Emancipation Day”
In the future, we plan on introducing a resolution to recognizing February 3 as "Emancipation Day" in the Commonwealth.  

The Thirteenth Amendment, which passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 1864 and 1865, respectively, abolished slavery in our country and indefinitely changed the lives of Black people across America. The amendment was then sent to state legislatures for ratification, which is a process that requires the affirmative vote from three-fourths of the states in order to amend the Constitution. While slavery had been abolished in the Commonwealth since 1780, on February 3, 1865, Pennsylvania became one of the first states to vote in support of ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment to ensure the freedom of Black Americans by prohibiting slavery throughout the entire United States of America.
The adoption of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, known as the Reconstruction Amendments, led to the expansion of civil rights for Black Americans by abolishing slavery, guaranteeing equal protection of the law, and the right to vote. With Black individuals gaining more rights, they began to hold elected government positions and have continuously fought for equal treatment of every individual in America since 1865.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly engaged in a historical act of courage and long-lasting change when they voted to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment and abolish slavery, and that is why we believe February 3rd should be recognized as “Emancipation Day” in Pennsylvania.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this resolution, to continuously remind every Pennsylvanian to be an active component of positive change in our country.