April 16, is a special day in District of Columbia government. The day is marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act - locally, the day is referred to as Emancipation Day (or Día de la Emancipación). April 16, 1862, is the date that president Abraham Lincoln signed the order that freed all persons enslaved in the nation's capital (about 3,000), during the American Civil War.
On January 4, 2005, legislation was signed to make it an official public holiday inside the Beltway. The day is a legal holiday in DC. Local government offices and some businesses are closed, and there are no changes to public transit services.
Generally, throughout the month of April, Washington, DC has a series of events to educate a broad range of people on the uniquely dynamic history of District of Columbia, and the unfortunate history of slavery. There will be exhibitions, public discussions, presentations of historic documents, the laying of wreaths, concerts and poetry readings. Some of events specifically give attention is also paid to the African origin of many slaves and racial issues in modern American society.
At 11 a.m. there will be an Emancipation Day parade set to take place on 3rd Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue around and end at Freedom Plaza. followed by a street festival for the remainder of the afternoon and fireworks after sundown.
An hour-long panel discussion will be sponsored by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C at 11:30 a.m. will be holding an hour-long panel discussion on Lincoln's decision to end slavery and how D.C. residents impacted the abolition movement nationally.
Cultural Tourism DC is organizing a smartphone-based commemorative scavenger hunt where participants can download an app and follow specific instructions and the top 30 participants will win prizes, according to The Washington Post.
For non-Washingtonians, Emancipation Day is equally special because the IRS has extended time to file for Tax Day, which is usually April 15 (this year it fell on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day is on Monday, so Tax Day is now April 17).
From 1861-1865, the American Civil War ripped families apart, just as the act of slavery for hundreds of years ripped African families and tribes apart. Slavery was one of many reasons that led to war. Nationally, slavery was legal in the United States until 1865, with the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, yet Washington, DC was one of the few places around the country that officially outlawed the action. Thirteenth Amendment was proposed on January 31, 1865, and ratified by 30 of the then 36 states in the same year. It was finally ratified in Mississippi in 1995. Before the outbreak of civil war, there were about four million slaves in the US [as of 1860].
The Compensated Emancipation Act was signed almost nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. From 1861-1865, the American Civil War ripped families apart, just as the act of slavery for hundreds of years ripped African families and tribes apart. Slavery was one of many reasons that led to war.
Elsewhere, the emancipation of slaves is celebrated in Florida (May 20), Puerto Rico (March 22) and Texas (June 19).
I would like to take the time to thank you for the support provided to our organization, Latin Fashion Week. The event was a huge success thank to the cooperation of company like Cultural Tourism DC and people like you.