In a unanimous vote, on July 1, 2019, the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, established a new city holiday, Liberation and Freedom Day, to be celebrated on March 3. Union Army troops, under the command of Major General Philip Sheridan, arrived in Charlottesville on March 3, 1865, liberating over 14,000 enslaved workers. "Blacks were the majority race in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area." In the 1870 Census, the first one in which Charlottesville appears, its population was 2,838.

By 4–1 vote, the City Council decided that the April 13 birthday of Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, will no longer be an official holiday in the city of Charlottesville.[1] News stories report that this change is because Jefferson was a slave owner.

On March 3, 2019, the slaves who built the University were honored in a ceremony held in the University Rotunda.[2][3] The University has built a Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, honoring the contributions of slaves who helped build and maintain the school.[4] "The memorial was recommended by a commission convened in 2013 to study slavery and the university."[5]

Joining in the March 3 commemoration were:


  1. ^ "Charlottesville to honor Liberation and Freedom Day, not Thomas Jefferson's birthday". WVIR-TV ( July 3, 2019. Archived from the original on July 14, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  2. ^ Davis, Moriah (March 3, 2019). "Charlottesville Celebrates Liberation and Freedom Day on UVA Grounds". WVIR-TV ( Archived from the original on May 1, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Bromley, Anne E. (March 3, 2019). "UVa Commemorates Enslaved Laborers at 'Liberation and Freedom Day' Ceremony". UVa Today. Archived from the original on July 15, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Freedman, Emmy (January 9, 2019). "UVA to Recognize Lives of Enslaved People with New Memorial Marker". WVIR-TV ( Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  5. ^ "University of Virginia boosts funding for slavery memorial". WTOP-FM. Associated Press. September 4, 2018. Archived from the original on July 14, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  6. ^ "Liberation and Freedom Day". Virginia Humanities. February 15, 2019.[permanent dead link]