About National Freedom Day
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”- Abraham Lincoln
National Freedom Day commemorates the signing of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865 by President Lincoln. The idea to celebrate the holiday came from Major Richard Robert Wright Sr., who was a former slave. He organized a group of leaders to write a bill for a national holiday that would celebrate freedom for all Americans, the holiday would take place on February 1. It was first commemorated on February 1, 1942, although it was not an official holiday yet. On June 30, 1948, President Harry Truman signed the bill. Every Year on this day, a wreath is laid at the Liberty Bell in celebration.
About Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United states. He became president in March of 1861 and remained President until he was assassinated in April of 1865. He was very outspoken about his opposition to slavery, and won the republican nomination because of it. He led the country through the civil war and defeated the Confederate southern states. He is best known for successfully ending slavery through the signing of his Emancipation proclamation in 1863. He is also known for his Gettysburg Address, considered one of the most influential speeches in American history.
About the 13th Amendment: The 13th amendment states:
“Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
About Major Richard Robert Wright Sr.: Richard R. Wright began his life as a slave in Georgia. After emancipation, he was educated at the Box Car School, a school in Atlanta Georgia for former slaves. He later went on to become valedictorian of his graduating class at Atlanta University. He was major in the Spanish-American war. He also served as president of the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth. He went on to open a bank, and started National Freedom day, among other accomplishments. His son was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.
References & Resources
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