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Photo of President Harry Truman signing with six people watching
President Harry Truman signs the bill proclaiming February 1 as National Freedom Day, June 30, 1948

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National Freedom Day
A Local Legacy

What holiday is celebrated on February 1?

It's National Freedom Day. The purpose of this holiday is to promote good feelings, harmony, and equal opportunity among all citizens and to remember that the United States is a nation dedicated to the ideal of freedom.

Major Richard Robert Wright Sr., a former slave, fought to have a day when freedom for all Americans is celebrated. When Wright got his freedom, he went on to become a successful businessman and community leader in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Major Wright chose February 1 as National Freedom Day because it was the day in 1865 that President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Do you know what the 13th Amendment did?

This amendment, an important change to our written law, outlawed slavery in the United States. Wright gathered national and local leaders together to write a bill declaring February 1 "National Freedom Day" and President Harry Truman signed the bill in 1948 making it official.

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