Charlottesville, Virginia will no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as an official holiday. The city will instead hold a day to observe the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.
What We Know:
- The city council decided on Monday of last week in a 4-1 vote to scrap the holiday that honored the slave-owning founding father.
- Councilwoman Kathy Galvin was the one member to vote against the motion. “Doing away with Thomas Jefferson’s birthday doesn’t do away with the history,” Galvin said, according to CBS19 News. “That birthday is still here. What he has done in the past is there.”
- Freedom and Liberation Day, which will be held every year on March 3, will replace Jefferson’s birthday as an official city holiday. That day is significant because it was the day slaves were officially emancipated in the city at the end of the Civil War in 1865. The decision to declare the new holiday pass in a separate and unanimous vote.
- Charlottesville has caught a bad rap throughout the years when it came to race and discrimination. In 2017, a rally called “Unite the Right” was hosted in the city by hundreds of white nationalists paraded through the streets to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. The rally quickly turned violent with one person being killed and more than a dozen others were injured.
With Jefferson being the nation’s third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia, his legacy has sparked an ongoing debate.