National Freedom Day

I had no idea.

National Freedom Day is a United States observance on February 1 honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865, although it was not ratified by the states until later.


According to National Freedom Day is defined as:

“[t]he purpose of this holiday is to promote good feelings, harmony, and equal opportunity among all citizens and to remember that the United States is a nation dedicated to the ideal of freedom. Major Richard Robert Wright Sr., a former slave, fought to have a day when freedom for all Americans is celebrated. When Wright got his freedom, he went on to become a successful businessman and community leader in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Major Wright chose February 1 as National Freedom Day because it was the day in 1865 that President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution…. The 13th Amendment outlawed slavery in the United States. Wright gathered national and local leaders together to write a bill declaring February 1 “National Freedom Day” and President Harry Truman signed the bill in 1948 making it official.”[3]

In these times we’ve learned, all too painfully, how fragile our freedom is and the necessity of safeguarding it. Especially from those who would take it from us without our being aware we ever lost it. Aspects of the Patriot Act, which citizens aren’t allowed to know about, come to mind.


3 thoughts on “National Freedom Day

  1. I have never heard of this day, nor Major Wright. How did we forget such an important holiday, lose touch with such a well-needed celebration? I don’t understand it.

    1. When I ran across this I had the same question. This apparently has to do with when the required number of states ratified the 13th Amendment as opposed to when Lincoln signed it into law. Because it was a constitutional amendment it didn’t effectively become the law of the land until the required number of states ratified it. This is different from a regular piece of legislation where the congress writes the law, congress votes on it and the president signs it. For a constitutional amendment, there is the additional step of the states ratifying it.

  2. I did not know this, like most Americans I am too caught up in the festivities of tomorrow. hahaha

    Thank you for this. I just did not know of Lincoln’s signature in all of this.

    Wonderful story of a freed slave. Just wonderful!

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