D.C. Celebrates Emancipation Day

The District of Columbia combined education and entertainment Thursday to celebrate the 153rd anniversary of the end of slavery in the nation’s capital. On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, granting freedom to over 3,100 slaves in D.C.

The annual celebration began at 11 a.m. with a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Parade participants include U.S. Armed Forces, D.C. organizations, historic balloon floats and more.

A free concert in Freedom Plaza will feature performances from D.C. native Brian Lenair, Eric Benet, Raheem DeVaughn and more. Performances are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

The day-long celebration wraps up with The Emancipation Day 2015 Fireworks Display in Freedom Plaza. Fireworks begin after the concert at 8:45. p.m. and will be followed by a free screening of Selma at 9:15 p.m.

The passage of the Compensated Emancipation Act came just 8-and-a-half months before the Emancipation Proclamation.

The District Department of Transportation will run reversible lane operations on the following roadways:

  • Canal Road between Chain Bridge and Foxhall Road, NW;
  • Independence Avenue between 4th Street, SW and 2nd Street, SE; and
  • Rock Creek Parkway (controlled by the National Park service).

The following streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to midnight:

  • E Street, NW from 14th to 13th Streets, NW
  • Pennsylvania Avenue, NW from 14th to 12th Streets, NW
  • 13th Street, NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

The following streets will be closed from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.:

  • Constitution Avenue, NW from 9th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • 7th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to Independence Avenue, SW

The following streets will be closed from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.:

  • Pennsylvania Avenue from 12th Street to 3rd Street, NW

The Department of Public Works announced that parking regulations, including expired meters, residential parking and street sweeping, will also be suspended for the holiday except along the streetcar line and in the Nationals Park area.

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