The first commemoration of National Freedom Day was on February 1st 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.National Freedom Day, observed on February 1st, was created to honor the day Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment. A former slave; United States Major Richard Robert Wright, gathered together local Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and national leaders to stump for the national holiday. Calling themselves the National Freedom Association they proposed a holiday that would highlight the struggles made by African Americans. The first remembrance took place February 1st 1942 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and included the lying of a wreath at the Liberty Bell.
President Harry Truman signed the bill proclaiming National Freedom Day on February 1st every year, on June 30th 1948.