• Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

National Freedom Day

Today is National Freedom Day, an annual observance held each February 1st to celebrate our freedom from slavery. For many years, a special wreath-laying ceremony, symbolizing freedom and liberty for Americans, takes place at the Liberty Bell.

A former slave, Major Richard Robert Wright Sr., is responsible for creating National Freedom Day. Wright was born a slave in a log cabin in Georgia in 1855. After emancipation, his life changed dramatically. He went on to school, became valedictorian at Atlanta University and later received his Ph.D. He became a military officer in the Spanish-American War. Wright became a civil rights advocate, educator and successful businessman. He founded a high school, college and the only African-American-owned bank in the North. He married and had nine children

Although the day was first celebrated in 1942, it was not signed into law until a few years later. In 1948, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming February 1st as National Freedom Day to commemorate the signing of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery.

Today is also Spunky Old Broads Day.