Charlottesville cuts Jefferson’s birthday as holiday, will recognize emancipation of African-Americans

Virginia
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In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 photo, statue of Thomas Jefferson is surrounded by fencing and a No Trespassing sign in front of the rotunda on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. The statue was the focal point of a clash between torch carrying white nationalists and students the night before […]

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Charlottesville, Virginia, will no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as an official city holiday and instead will observe a day recognizing the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

The city council voted Monday night to scrap the decades-old April 13 holiday honoring the slave-holding president and Founding Father. Charlottesville will now mark Liberation and Freedom Day on March 3, the day U.S. Army forces arrived in the city in 1865.

Charlottesville has been grappling publicly for years with how to tell its history of race and discrimination. Those efforts intensified after white nationalists gathered in the city in 2017 for a rally that descended into deadly violence.

The legacy of Jefferson, the nation’s third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia, has been a component of that ongoing debate.

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