Today is National Freedom Day. No one may realize the effort it took to fight agasint slavery in America. Here I have some historic background of how this holiday came to be and two book recomendations during the time of post-slavery.
February 1st 1865 commemorates the signing by President Abraham Lincoln to abolish slavery which would later become the 13th Amendment. National Freedom Day was originally formulated by Major Richard Robert Wright Sr, a man born into slavery who believed there should be a day that all American slaves can celebrate their freedom.
On February 1st 1941, Wright met with national and local leaders in Philadelphia to recognize the date as a way of memorializing the signing of the 13th amendment. A year after Wright’s death in 1947, the bill passed through both houses of the U.S. Congress to make the holiday official. On June 30th 1948, President Harry Truman officially signed the holiday into law. Having a day of remembrance for the passing of the 13th amendment is important as it gives African Americans a way of reclaiming this dark history and to celebrate their freedom.
The first book recommendation is Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. Du Bois. This book examines the role that black Americans played in the period immediately after the civil war when slaves were freed and America was in its reconstruction process.
Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 also recounts the reconstruction period after the civil war by giving insight on the issues surrounding this period. This includes: Patterns of race relations, the evolution of racial attitudes, violence in this period, etc.
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