Charlottesville scraps Jefferson’s birthday as a holiday

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WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 16: The United States Mint announced today that it is issuing two newly designed 5-cent coins (nickels) in 2005 with a new image of President Thomas Jefferson on the obverse (heads side) of both nickels September 16, 2004 in Washington, DC. The reverse (tails side) of the first nickel will be an American bison design that is reminiscent of the Buffalo Nickel. A second newly designed nickel will feature a reverse design that signifies the culmination of the Lewis and Clark expedition. (Photo by US Mint via Getty Images)

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.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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