February 1, 1865 is one of the most important historical dates for the United States. That was the day President Abraham Lincoln signed the joint Senate-House resolution that was to become the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. By his stroke of the pen, the President set in motion the process of outlawing slavery in the U.S.A. Of course, eventually enough states ratified the legislation to enable it to become an official Amendment.
While federal departments like the Post Office will remain open, National Freedom Day is legally recognized as a Title 36 Federal Observance.
Though not by the original intent, National Freedom Day is also the first day of Black History Month. At this time the recognition of the suffering and efforts to liberate slaves of African origin is observed in Canada and the U.S.
Originally the observation was Negro History Week. In 1926, historian Carter Woodson planned the time to spotlight the accomplishments and achievements by people of African-American heritage. The goal was to eventually include negro history as an integral part of American history in general.
During February, schools of all levels teach African-American history. The inclusion of this history into general history books is practically complete.
There is some disagreement as to whether or not a Black History Month is useful. For instance, African-American spokesman Morgan Freeman asks, “why would you relegate my history to a single month?” Regardless of the debate, the fact is that the missing portion of American history is now present in schools and society.
It is important to recognize the long, arduous struggle of people of African descent to the overall greatness of the nation.
The Blue Jay of Happiness hopes you’ll take time out today to recognize how we can all include every person inside the ideals and practice of freedom all year long.