This day celebrates the signing of the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution by Abraham Lincoln. This amendment outlawed slavery. The purpose of the holiday is to promote harmony and equal opportunity among all citizens of the United States.
When is National Freedom Day celebrated?
Who celebrates this day?
This day is a federal observance, but not a public holiday. Any American can celebrate this day. Cities and government institutions around the United States celebrate the day. It is also celebrated by libraries and educational institutions.
What do people do to celebrate?
The day is a day to celebrate freedom for all Americans and to remember how important freedom is to all of us. Many schools will have themes based on freedom or the 13th amendment. They may read the amendment or study the history behind how the amendment came about and was eventually signed into law. Cities and government institutions promote festivals and education programs on this day.
One of the main ceremonies is the laying of a wreath on the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This commemoration has occurred since the first unofficial National Freedom Day in 1942.
Things You Could do For National Freedom Day
- Read about civil rights heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Susan B. Anthony.
- Do a report on the Emancipation Proclamation and its impact on the Civil War.
- Find out what countries still allow slavery or where illegal slavery is prominent. Get the word out so people know what is going on.
- Memorize all the amendments to the Constitution.
- Make a poster showing what freedom means to you.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th amendment on February 1, 1865. The states still had to ratify the amendment before it could become part of the Constitution. It became fully adopted on December 6, 1865 when the state of Georgia adopted it.
Major Richard Wright Sr., a former slave, began the movement to have a national observance to honor the day Lincoln signed the 13th amendment. He worked to get the day recognized and got various leaders to support him. In 1942 National Freedom Day was commemorated by laying a wreath at the Liberty Bell.
It was in 1948 when President Harry Truman signed the bill making National Freedom Day an official observance.
Fun Facts About National Freedom Day
- The symbols of National Freedom Day include the wreath and the Liberty Bell.
- In 1863, before the 13th amendment, Abraham Lincoln gave an executive order called the Emancipation Proclamation freeing many of the slaves.
- South Africa celebrates Freedom Day on April 27th each year.
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National Freedom Day
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