Tuesday, 09 April 2024 17:26

D.C. EMANCIPATION DAY - APRIL 16th Featured

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Anise Jenkins and Henry "Tabu" Taylor at the John A. Wilson Building on D.C. Emancipation Day - April 16, 2007. Anise Jenkins and Henry "Tabu" Taylor at the John A. Wilson Building on D.C. Emancipation Day - April 16, 2007. Photo by Elvert Xavier Barnes

THE HISTORY OF D.C. EMANCIPATION DAY

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act ending slavery in D.C. Passage of this law came almost nine months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

The District has the unique distinction of being the only part of the U.S. to have compensated slavers for freeing enslaved persons they owned.

The act provided for immediate emancipation, compensation to former slave owners who were loyal to the Union of up to $300 for each freed enslaved person, voluntary colonization of former slaves to locations outside the United States and payments of up to $100 for each person choosing emigration. The Board of Commissioners appointed to administer the act approved 930 petitions, completely or in part, from former slave owners for the freedom of 2,989 formerly enslaved persons.

African-Americans greeted emancipation with great jubilation in the District of Columbia. For many years afterward, they celebrated D.C. Emancipation Day – APRIL 16th – with parades and festivals.

D.C. Emancipation Day has been an official public holiday in the District of Columbia since 2005.

Read 250 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 April 2024 19:56

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