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DC Emancipation Day

The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Commission develops plans, programs, projects and activities to celebrate the holiday and commemorate the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862, that freed enslaved people in the District of Columbia. The Office of the Secretary is charged with the responsibility for organizing, planning and coordinating the District of Columbia Emancipation Day activities.

Brief History

The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Day became a public legal holiday for District of Columbia in 2005 by DC Act 15-082. Mayor’s Order March 7, 2008, established the District of Columbia Emancipation Commission. 

Key Events

Key events of the District of Columbia Emancipation Planning Committee include organizing and planning programs, projects and activities to commemorate the sesquicentennial celebration of Civil War era history in the District of Columbia by highlighting the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act. Visit the Emancipation website for an event schedule and other details about this year's celebration.