Vice President Joe Biden drew some grumbles during a ceremony honoring abolitionist Frederick Douglass when he joked it "took a long time" for emancipation to make its way to Texas.
Biden was at the Capitol Wednesday to help unveil a statue of Douglass, and talked about how the Juneteenth holiday honors the day Texas became the last state to learn the Civil War was over,The Washington Post reports.
"Today, we celebrate the anniversary . . . of the victory over slavery," Biden said, referring to it as June 13. "Finally, the message got to Texas." Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 that union soldiers arrived in Texas to announce the end of slavery. The date was actually June 19.
But the mix up in dates didn't stir the rumblings from the crowd. It was Biden's remark, which some in the crowd took to mean Texas was last state to acknowledge end of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln in 1863.
He quickly caught himself. "I didn’t mean it the way that sounded. It just took time. It took a long time to get to Delaware too," he said, referring to the fact that his own home state did not ratify the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery until 1901. Texas ratified it in 1870.
Biden also used the ceremony to call for equal voting rights for the District of Columbia.
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