In the Halls of Power: Why Juneteenth matters

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On Wednesday Gov. Chris Sununu signed SB 174 commemorating June 19 as a day to reflect on slavery. Photo/Paula Tracy

CONCORD, NHOn Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu signed SB 174 into law establishing Juneteenth as a day to reflect upon slavery’s relation to the state of New Hampshire.

According to the website,, Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

Video: JerriAnne Boggis, executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire. 

Prime sponsor Senator Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline) released the following statement after the signing ceremony:

“While most people associate the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln as the Decree that freed enslaved people, for some who were not told and remained in bondage it was actually June 19, 1865 that the chains of slavery were finally broken.

Today, June 19, 2019, the signing of SB 174 marks the first annual day to honor and commemorate Juneteenth in New Hampshire as the day that ‘all men and women became free.’

I thank the Governor, the bill co-sponsors, and all who inspired SB 174 to be an annual day of observance for New Hampshire. It is an honor to be a part of sharing with and educating people about Juneteenth because this is not solely the history of African Americans but our shared American history.”

The Rev. Robert H. Thompson sang at the signing ceremony.’s Paula Tracy talks every week with people from around New Hampshire who come to the State House and Legislative Office Building in Concord about why they do so. We call her video column In the Hallways oPower-NH, IHoP-NH. Paula Tracy can be reached at