Jacksonville’s Freedom Day


Although North Carolina is synonymously known as “first in flight” it also became “first in freedom” on April 12, 1776. On this day in history, the colony of North Carolina took a stand and defeated the British loyalists to ascertain its freedom from British governance. Approximately 89 years later on December 18, 1865, the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. Albeit, not mentioned by our founding fathers, human trafficking is the modern day form of slavery including recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring of persons by methods of coercion, abduction, deception, or abuse of power over vulnerable persons for the purposes of exploitation.

In keeping with the time honor tradition of “first in freedom,” North Carolina has witnessed many “first in freedom” such as: North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University was established in 1891 as the result of the second Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890; states using federal land-grant funds had to allocate money for segregated black colleges to serve as an alternative to white schools. From 1942 to 1949, the Montford Point Marines were the first African American recruits to desegregate the United States Marine Corps received basic training at the segregated Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Finally, on February 1, 1960, Dr. Ezell Blair, Jr. (now Dr. Jibreel Khazan), Dr. David L. Richmond (deceased), Dr. Franklin E. McCain, and Dr. Joseph A. McNeil, Major General, United States Air Force, Retired, who would later be known as the Greensboro Four staged a sit-in at a F. W. Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. A simply act of four college friends attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and sitting down at a lunch counter to order food and to be served in a restaurant that blatantly refused services to anyone but Caucasians is recognized a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

Case studies:

What are the goals of the project?

  • To recognize the abolishment of slavery, including modern day slavery of human trafficking.
  • To promote racial harmony in the City of Jacksonville by eliminating racial disparities and discourse.
  • To guarantee the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens in the City of Jacksonville.
  • To encourage other municipalities across the United States to observe and recognize Freedom Day as a holiday on the second Monday in December.
  • To acknowledge and honor the United States motto of “e pluribus unum” for all citizens throughout the United States.

How is the project being executed?

The Freedom Day was adopted into the City of Jacksonville’s holiday schedule on June 21, 2016 and the first holiday will be observed on December 12, 2016 (the second Monday). The holiday coincides when the 13th Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865, and adopted on December 18, 1865. Currently, a city event to commemorate the holiday on Dec 12th is under development.

Councilwoman Angelia J. Washington
City of Jacksonville, NC

Councilman Jerome Willingham
City of Jacksonville, NC

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