On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia making DC residents the "First Freed" by the federal government. Passage of this law came 8 1/2 months before President Lincoln issued his national Emancipation Proclamation.
In 2005 Emancipation Day was made an official holiday in the District of Columbia. Many DC government services will be limited on Wednesday, April 16 in celebration of Emancipation Day.
To learn more about DC Emancipation and for a listing of related events, please visit www.dc.gov/emancipationday.