Monday, February 2, 2015

National Freedom Day - A Federal Holiday?

via the Tracing Center article

Did you know that February 1st was National Freedom Day? According to the Tracing Center, it was created to celebrate the signing of the 13th Amendment by Abraham Lincoln, which was supposed to free the enslaved people of the United State.  In 1948 President Harry. S. Truman, after many years of lobbying by former slave Major Richard Right, officially recognized the date as an annual federal observance. 

I have always been disappointed by the fact that there is no national Emancipation Day celebration. I am still hoping that some how the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture may begin doing annual programming that will help lead to a burgeoning movement. They are uniquely located and otherwise positioned due to their ever expanding archive of artifacts and scholars to get a national movement going for this holiday. Of course they have to open first.

After visiting South Africa last winter and taking part in Cape Town's incredible Emancipation Day celebrations, I continue to be disappointed by the lack of recognition of such seminal moments in African American history in the US. Disappointed but sadly never surprised. I mean Arkansas, Alabama and, of course, Mississippi continue to celebrate Robert E. Lee's birthday. Amurricuh!