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. DC government offices will be closed on Friday, April 16 in celebration of Emancipation Day.
This year the Office of the Secretary of the District of Columbia is sponsoring a DC Emancipation Day float in the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. The Parade takes place on Saturday, April 10th at 10 am. The parade route runs along Constitution Avenue, NW, from 7th to 17th Streets. For more information on the National Cherry Blossom Festival please visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
For more DC Emancipation Day information and events please visit www.dc.gov/emancipationday.