Charlottesville scraps Jefferson’s birthday as holiday

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Thomas Jefferson memorial

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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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