February 1st – Freedom Day

National Freedom Day - In Creative Personnel Work Freely!

National Freedom Day, always observed on February 1st, celebrates freedom from slavery. It also recognizes that America is a symbol of liberty. The day honors the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865. It was not ratified by the states, however, until later on December 18, 1865.

First Day of Black History Month

How to Observe National Freedom Day

  • Reflect on the freedoms found in the United States.
  • Attend a National Freedom Day ceremony.
  • Read about or watch a documentary about the 13th Amendment.
  • Visit an art gallery or museum displaying pieces inspired by the 13th Amendment.
  • Attend a forum or lecture to discuss the 13th Amendment and its impact, then and now.
  • Read the 13th Amendment in its entirety.
  • Teach someone about the 13th Amendment.
  • Write about or discuss the 13th Amendment in a social media post, broadcast, or article.
  • Use #NationalFreedomDay to post on social media.


A former slave by the name of Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr. created National Freedom Day. Major Wright was looked upon as a great leader in the community. It was believed by Major Wright, that this day needed to be celebrated.

February 1st holds significance because that was the date Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery in 1865. On June 30, 1948, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming February 1st as the first official National Freedom Day in the United States.


“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” ~ 13th Amendment

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