Lincoln's Cottage Hosts Emancipation Day Celebrations

Norton uses occasion to call for voting rights expansion in District

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    NEWSLETTERS

    DC commemorates the day 150 years ago that slaves were freed. Derrick Ward reports. (Published Monday, Apr 16, 2012)

    President Lincoln's Cottage is hosting a celebration of the 150th anniversary of District of Columbia Emancipation Day to mark the day slaves were freed in the nation's capital.

    The free celebration on Sunday afternoon will feature Lincoln presidential scholars and a musical program. Lincoln experts at the program will include Harold Holzer, Edna Greene and Frank Williams. They will discuss Lincoln's role in the D.C. Emancipation Act, the reactions to it and the role citizens played.

    On Monday, the cottage museum will also join Cultural Tourism D.C., Ford's Theatre and the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in hosting a citywide mobile scavenger hunt called "Free in D.C.''

    D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a descendant of one of the slaves freed by Lincoln's signing of the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, will serve as one of the Grand Marshals of Monday's Emancipation Day Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. She has used the occasion to call for an expansion of voting rights for D.C citizens.

    “The District is justified in making a big deal of the 150th anniversary of the first emancipation of slaves in the United States which occurred here in the District of Columbia,” Norton said in a statement released Saturday. “But as we commemorate their freedom, we are obligated to make plain the irony that the city of the first liberated has become the last to win the same freedoms all other Americans now enjoy.”

    The cottage at the Soldiers' Home where President Abraham Lincoln spent about a quarter of his presidency is now a museum.