Welcome to National Freedom Day
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 R. 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.
National Freedom Day purpose is to promote harmony and equal opportunity among all citizens of the United States. February 1st, is the day to celebrate freedom for all Americans and to remember how important freedom is to all of us. 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.
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. 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.