Skip to Main Content


Executive Order 04-14 (2003) Established "Emancipation Day" in the state of Misssouri


WHEREAS, on May 15, 2003, the General Assembly passed House Bill 640, and on July 10, 2003, I signed said bill into law; and

WHEREAS, House Bill 640 designated June nineteenth, known as Juneteenth, of each year as "Emancipation Day" to provide an opportunity for the people of Missouri to reflect upon the United States of America's passion for freedom as exemplified in the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, and to reflect upon the significance and particularity of the Emancipation Proclamation and its role in ending slavery in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly passed House Bill 640 which established the "Missouri Juneteenth Heritage and Cultural Festival and Memorial" and provided that any funds appropriated by the general assembly for this event shall be used to establish a state-wide festival and monument to commemorate the struggles and hardships endured by those who had been enslaved; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth commemorates the spirit and quest of African American freedom emphasizing education, art, and intellectual achievement, through reflection and rejoicing.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BOB HOLDEN, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Missouri, do hereby declare and establish a Missouri Emancipation Day Commission, whose purpose shall be: to promote, consider, recommend and be responsible for, in consultation with the departments of economic development, natural resources and elementary and secondary education, all activities for the recognition and celebration of Emancipation Day, as established in section 9.161, RSMo.

The Commission shall be composed of not more than nine members as follows:

  1. one member of the senate, to be appointed by the president pro tempore of the senate;
  2. one member of the house of representatives, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
  3. the director of the department of economic development;
  4. the director of the department of natural resources;
  5. the commissioner of the department of elementary and secondary education;
  6. four members appointed by the governor, who demonstrate experience in matters relating to economic development, who have knowledge of African American culture, history, and heritage, and who are influential within their communities;
    and that the governor shall designate one member to serve as the chair. All members of the Commission shall be legal residents of the United States and registered voters in the State of Missouri.

All members of the Commission shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and shall serve without compensation, except that the members may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses arising from commission activities or business. Such expenses shall be paid by the department of economic development, to which the Commission is assigned for administrative purposes.

Of the members first appointed to the Commission by the governor, two shall serve a term of three years and two shall serve a term of two years and thereafter members appointed by the governor shall serve for a term of three years. Other members, except legislative members, shall serve for as long as they hold the position which made them eligible for appointment. Legislative members shall serve during their current term of office but may be reappointed.

The Commission shall conduct not less than two meetings and not more than four meetings per calendar year. The chairperson of the Commission may establish subcommittees as necessary to further the objectives and responsibilities of the Commission, and those subcommittees may meet as often as necessary.

The Commission shall convene no earlier than July 1, 2004, and no later than August 1, 2004. This Order shall be effective immediately and shall supersede all previous Executive Orders pertaining to the same subject.

I further declare that the people of the state, offices of government, and all educational, commercial, political, civic, religious, and fraternal organizations in the state are requested to devote some part of June nineteenth to remember the proclamation that began the full realization for all people in the United States of the self-evident truth, as stated in the Declaration of Independence of the United States, that all men are created equal, by:

  1. celebrating the abolishment of slavery, accomplished by ratification of the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as the former slaves celebrated on June 19, 1865, upon learning the message of freedom from Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army in Galveston, Texas, which celebration, known as "Juneteenth", is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery; and
  2. reaffirming their commitment to achieving equal justice and opportunity for all citizens.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 17th day of June, 2004.

[Bob Holden's signature]



[Matt Blunt's signature]