Let Freedom Ring, especially on February 1. Confused? It’s National Freedom Day! This day was founded to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as U.S. citizens, which we should never take for granted. Specifically, the holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln signed what would later become the 13th Amendment. This Amendment is so important because it effectively ended slavery in the United States. Freedom is one of the founding principles of the United States of America, and this day was envisioned as a way for all citizens to take a moment to appreciate how lucky they are. We should all be thankful for our many freedoms as citizens of this great country!
National Freedom Day Timeline
July 4, 1776
Freedom in Black and White
The Declaration of Independence is adopted, with Thomas Jefferson’s words: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that their Creator endows them with certain inalienable rights.’
July 8, 1776
Sound of Freedom
The Liberty Bell chimes from the tower of Independence Hall for the first time.
Civil Rights and Liberties
The Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, is ratified — promising individual civil rights and liberties.
February 1, 1865
The 13th Amendment
President Abraham Lincoln signed the resolution proposing to outlaw slavery — the 13th Amendment of the country’s Constitution.
Philadelphia Celebrates This Day First
National Freedom Day is first celebrated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Man Behind it All Dies
Richard Robert Wright Senior, who created National Freedom Day and established the National Freedom Day Association in 1941, died one year before the day was officially recognized.
June 30, 1948
Freedom is Official
President Harry Truman signed the proclamation appointing February 1 as the official National Freedom Day in the United States.
June 2, 1964
No More Discrimination and Segregation
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, prohibiting the segregation of public and private spaces and discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, or religion.
How To Observe National Freedom Day
Share the freedoms you most appreciate on social media.
What freedoms do you appreciate the most? The ability to be friends with people of different backgrounds and orientations? The ability to choose the person you want to marry? Share with your friends and see what kind of freedom wave you set off. You might even want to start a purposeful movement among your friends by using a specific hashtag or asking a thought-provoking question.
Dive into a Civil War history or a biography
Pick up a new book or watch a movie or documentary to understand the lives and times that brought about the Civil War and, ultimately, the emancipation of enslaved people. This will help you understand the founding of National Freedom Day. It will also give you some perspective and make you grateful for your freedoms today.
Start a discussion group.
Put together a casual gathering to discover what freedom means to those around you. You might be surprised to hear how freedom can be defined. You’ll broaden your perspective by letting everyone tell you what freedoms they’re grateful for. You’ll also become grateful for freedoms you’ve never even thought about!
Why National Freedom Day Is Important
It keeps us rooted in what matters.
This day was originally proposed as a national holiday by Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr. A formerly enslaved person; he lobbied Congress to designate a day when the freedom of all Americans would be celebrated. The declaration was officially signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1948. With war, unrest, and worse in many parts of the world, our long history of recognizing ‘freedom’ makes living in America a unique opportunity and blessing.
It marks the first day of Black History Month.
Celebrating our freedom is the perfect way to start a month appreciating African Americans’ history and contributions to our culture, country, and world. We enter Black History Month on a positive and appreciative note and spend an entire month recognizing some amazing achievements. That makes us happy; how about you?
It’s a day of appreciation.
National Freedom Day was established to promote goodwill, fairness, and equality. Taking a moment to appreciate all the freedoms we enjoy daily will put a positive spin on your day. Think small when you’re appreciating. You have freedom of speech. You have the freedom to practice whatever religion you want! It’s a great opportunity to consider and appreciate the freedoms we take for granted every other day of the year.