DC Celebrates Emancipation Day

Several events planned throughout the city in celebration of historic day.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    D.C. leaders march for voting rights on Emancipation Day 2007.

    Eight-and-a-half months before President Abraham Lincoln ended slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, he signed a bill that made D.C. residents the first freed by the U.S. govenment.

    D.C. Emancipation Day came on April 16, 1862, and in 2005, it became an official holiday in the District. D.C. government offices will be closed this Friday in celebration of the holiday.

    Each year, D.C. commerorates Emancipation Day with educational events throughout the city. Since Mayor Adrian Fenty took office in 2007, the day has turned into a rallying cry for D.C. voting rights. That year, the mayor led a voting rights March to the U.S. Capitol demanding equal representation for D.C. residents in Congress. A similar march and rally will be held this Friday starting in Franklin Square.

    This year the office of the Secretary of the District of Columbia sponsored a D.C. Emancipation float in the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. If you missed it, plenty of opportunities are available to mark the occassion. Today there are two lectures and an exhibit being held in the city. Tomorrow a wreath laying ceremony will be held at the African American Civil War Memorial. And Friday, two films, a panel discussion and a DC Emancipation Day Program are taking place to honor the holiday.

    A DC Vote event also will be held at the Capitol Visitor Center and will include Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), DC City Council Chairman Vincent Gray and DC City Councilmember Yvette Alexander.

    The celebration also continues through the weekend.

    Click here for a complete schedule.