Who Was Jefferson Davis and What Is Jefferson Davis Day?
Jefferson Davis was a 19th century U.S. senator best known as the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Jefferson Davis was born in Christian County, Kentucky, on June 3, 1808. After a distinguished military career, Davis served as a U.S. senator and as secretary of war under Franklin Pierce before his election as the president of the secessionist Confederate States of America. He was later indicted for treason, though never tried, and remained a symbol of Southern pride until his death in 1889.
Jefferson Davis’ Birthday, also known as Jefferson Davis Day, commemorates the birthday of Jefferson Davis, one of the most well-known Confederate leaders during the American Civil War in the 1860s. It is a state holiday in Alabama on the first Monday of June and in Florida on June 3 each year.
Each year, Alabama celebrates Jefferson Davis’ Birthday on the first Monday in June. In Florida it is a legal and public holiday on June 3. Other states, such as Kentucky, do not officially observe but informally celebrate the day around this time of the year. Jefferson Davis’ Birthday is combined with Memorial Day in Mississippi on the last Monday of May.
In recent times, events around this date included reunions for associations linked with Jefferson Davis and the crowning of “Miss Confederacy” at the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site in Kentucky, where a concrete obelisk stands near the site of Davis’ birthplace.
After serving in the Mexican War and serving as Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis was chosen twice to the US Senate, finishing neither term. When the Confederacy seceded from the Union, Davis was chosen as its leader. By popular vote on February 22, 1862, he became the only president of the Confederate States of America.
Davis is considered by many to have mismanaged the Confederacy and its conduct of the Civil War. After fleeing the capital in Richmond near the end of the war, Davis was jailed for treason, and afterwards led the life of a business entrepreneur and author until he died at the age of 81 in 1889.
There are some links between Jefferson Davis’ birthday, Confederate Memorial Day and Memorial Day. By 1916, ten southern states marked June 3, which was Jefferson Davis’ birthday, as Confederate Memorial Day. Mississippi observes Jefferson Davis’ Birthday in conjunction with the Memorial Day federal holiday on May 26.
The Jefferson Davis National Highway in the United States and Jefferson Davis County in Mississippi were named in honor of Jefferson Davis. A 351-foot (107 m) tall concrete obelisk at the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site in Fairview, Todd County, Kentucky marks the site of his birth place in what was then Christian County, Kentucky. There are statues of Davis in many places in the United States, including the Alabama, Virginia and Kentucky State Capitols.
The Confederate flag is used by many to symbolize Jefferson Davis Day. It is defined as any of the flags used by the Confederate States of America. This includes: First National or Stars and Bars; Second National or Stainless Banner; Third National; Bonnie Blue Flag; Confederate Battle Flag; and the Confederate Naval Jack.