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Why Is February 1 Established as National Freedom Day?

National Freedom Day, which falls onto February 1, is a national holiday in the United States acclaimed by the federal government. However, not many people know about it. To make this holiday popular among the people, it is necessary to tell about its history and significance for the American nation.

Origins of National Freedom Day


National Freedom DayOn February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed the resolution that put forward the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the USA. This Amendment was to abolish slavery in the country. However, by then, the process hadn’t been completed yet. According to the federal law, the Congress has to send proposed amendments for ratification to the states. In their turn, the states had to finalize them. Thus, the 13th Amendment was ratified only on December 6, 1865, evoking a large number of celebrations in the North.

Richard Wright – the Important Figure for National Freedom Day

When Lincoln signed the joint resolution, Richard R. Wright was a 9-year-old boy who lived in Georgia as a slave. When the Civil War was over and the Reconstruction began, he attended a school for freed men. Later Wright became an officer in the Spanish-American War, as well as a respected educator and a banker. Being a self-made man who always strived for the better, Wright eventually became a role model for numerous blacks from the middle class. Wright also was a novelist who illustrated hope, struggle and anger of those who wanted to attain the American Dream in his literature works.

Being 67 years old, this remarkable man enrolled in Wharton Business School. When he was 86, in the year 1942, he started lobbying the Congress to create National Freedom Day. The first celebration involved 3,500 people who saw a patriotic parade in front of the Liberty Bell. Due to Wright’s efforts, in 1948, President Harry Truman signed the law to make National Freedom Day the nationwide holiday. Unfortunately, Wright didn’t live to see this happening because he died one year before that.

Thus, we commemorate the abolition of slavery on February 1, which reminds us of the American principles of freedom, justice, and equality.