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Juneteenth USA Applauds Biden Administration on Third Anniversary of Federal Juneteenth Holiday

Celebrating Al Edwards: The Architect & Father of Juneteenth

Beachwood, OH, United States, 29th Apr 2024 —In a profound acknowledgment of Juneteenth’s significance to American history and culture, President Biden’s 2023 Juneteenth proclamation paid homage to a pivotal figure in the holiday’s establishment— Texas State Representative Al Edwards. Known affectionately as the “Father of Juneteenth,” Edwards’ tireless state by state legislative advocacy and unwavering commitment for almost four decades paved the way for Juneteenth to transition from a Texas state holiday to a revered national holiday.

Al Edwards, born March 19, 1937, embarked on a remarkable journey that would forever etch his name in the annals of history. Elected to the Texas State Legislature in 1979, Edwards authored and championed the bill that established Juneteenth as a state holiday in Texas. His vision, however, extended far beyond the borders of the Lone Star State. Understanding the profound significance of June 19, 1865—the day enslaved individuals in Texas learned of their freedom, Edwards dedicated his life to ensuring this momentous day received the national recognition it deserved.

Through his leadership roles (National Vice – Chair and National Chair) within the Democratic Party’s Black Caucus and various legislative organizations, Edwards encouraged over 35 state legislative bodies, specifically the state legislative Black Caucus across America to adopt Juneteenth observances or state holidays.  The outcome of this effort created what he saw as a “state led” national holiday with  45 states observing the holiday out of the 50 states in the Union by 2016, thus laying the groundwork for US Congress’ unanimous consent action securing federal recognition. His efforts culminated in the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act of 2021, a testament to his decades-long campaign. Edwards’ journey was captured in the Ebony Magazine Article “America’s Father of Juneteenth and the Start of the 41 Year March Towards a National Holiday” 

While Edwards passed away in April 2020, his legacy as a relentless advocate for justice and equality endures. President Biden’s recognition of Edwards in the 2023 Juneteenth proclamation underscores the profound impact of his work. It serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to honor the history of enslaved people and celebrate the freedom and rights we hold dear.

We extend our deepest gratitude to President Biden for commemorating Al Edwards in the 2023 national proclamation  of Juneteenth. His acknowledgment not only honors Edwards’ immense contributions but also reflects our nation’s commitment to recognizing the importance of Juneteenth. 

As we celebrate this day, let us remember Al Edwards and the enduring legacy of his dedication to justice, freedom, and equality for all. We also share our heartfelt appreciation to Opal Lee, and many others like Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who have championed this cause and helped to integrate the history of Juneteenth into the broader conversation of American history. 

For more information about the life and legacy of State Representative Al Edwards and the significance of Juneteenth, please visit for our media kit. 


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Ms. Yvonne Harris  

Juneteenth U.S.A.


Media Contact

Organization: Juneteenth USA

Contact Person: Ms. Yvonne Harris


Email: Send Email

Contact Number: +13103837041

City: Beachwood

State: OH

Country: United States

Release Id: 29042411486

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