Freedom, which many take for granted, is the power or right to act, speak or think without hindrance. Freedom is, also, that condition in which we are not restrained, encumbered, imprisoned, or enslaved.  Freedom has not always been everyone’s right. As most of us know, slavery was legal and abundant in the United States until the mid-1800s.

Today is National Freedom Day, which commemorates the date, February 1, 1865, when President Abraham Lincoln signed a joint resolution that proposed the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution, which would outlaw slavery. The amendment was ratified into law on December 18, 1865.

While slavery was made illegal, a day to honor the resolution of freedom was not observed until the 1940s. The leadership and dedication of Major Richard Robert Wright Senior (a former slave) played a crucial role in creating the observance. He founded the National Freedom Day Association; and, he was active in education, the media, business and politics. Major Wright hoped to see a day that would be dedicated to celebrating freedom for all Americans.

The first commemoration of such a day took place on February 1, 1942, although it was not made into law yet. A tradition of laying a wreath at Liberty Bell also began. On June 30, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill to proclaim February 1 as the first official National Freedom Day in the United States. National Freedom Day’s theme is about freedom for all Americans.

Today, slavery is not legal anywhere in the world; but, unfortunately, slavery is still abundant in the world. It is a hidden crime, which makes it hard for those enslaved to call out for help. FREE THE SLAVES is an organization dedicated to put an end to slavery. They have a wealth of information on their website, so we all can play a role to end modern day slavery. I urge you to check it out as a way to celebrate National Freedom Day.

All rights reserved. ©2016 by A.K. Orobko

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