Rabb announces Emancipation Day legislation

HARRISBURG, Feb. 3 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he is drafting legislation that would establish the first Monday of February as Emancipation Day in Pennsylvania.

Rabb said the bill would acknowledge the ongoing struggle for Black liberation in a society that still poses threats and allows barriers to persist against the advancement of Black people and allied communities of struggle.

On Feb. 3, 1865, Pennsylvania became the sixth state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, thus ensuring the abolition of slavery throughout the United States.

“In theory, the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteens Amendments — otherwise known as the Reconstruction Amendments — should have led to the expansion of civil rights for Black Americans, but in practice we know that not to be the case. Black Americans have had to fight every step of the way and are still fighting to this day for true emancipation,” Rabb said. “As the axiom goes: ‘nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’”

Signing this piece of legislation into law and recognizing Emancipation Day would further show the Commonwealth’s commitment to racial justice, Rabb said.