It’s Monday, February 15, 2016 and it is Presidents’ Day. It is also President Obama’s last Presidents’ Day in office. Hopefully he enjoys it and has a good time and celebrates, because he made history and this day Presidents’ Day will never be the same. Here is a review of how Presidents’ Day became what it is today. It started back in 1800 following the death of President George Washington in 1799, which back then they called it “Washington’s Birthday.” The holiday started not as a national recognized holiday, then Senator Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas proposed to have it recognized, and in 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. Starting out only in Washington D.C. in 1885 it was recognized throughout the entire country. Later, they decided to change the name of the holiday to Presidents’ Day, which was set as the third Monday of each month of February. The holiday always falls between both President Lincoln and President Washington birthdays. Alright enough of the history lesson.
Shopping is another thing to know about Presidents’ Day. You can always find a sale, no matter where you go, there will most likely be a Presidents’ Day Sale going on. Not really sure what sales have to do with Presidents’ Day, however, businesses will always find a way to pull in their consumers. That is not always a bad thing even though it does not really have anything to do with the holiday but most holidays are like that. Although, a good deal can be a great catch for the most part.
Now saving the best for last, here are some Black History facts for this day.
- Henry Lewis becomes the first African American to lead a symphony in the U.S. in 1968.
- Nat King Cole, singer and pianist dies from lung cancer in 1965.
- Protest of Patrice Lumumba’s slaying, the US and African nationalists protest the slaying of Congo Premier Patrice Lumumba disrupt UN sessions in 1961.
- Black abolitionists invaded Boston courtroom and rescued a fugitive slave in 1851.
- Sarah Roberts barred from white school in Boston. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, filed the first school integration suit on her behalf in 1848.
- The New Jersey Legislature approved a law calling for “gradual” emancipation of African Americans. In so doing, New Jersey became the last Northern state to outlaw slavery in 1804.