National Archives Marks 150th Anniversary of DC Emancipation April 18
Press Release · Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Washington, DC

Media Alert
April 3, 2012

DC Emancipation: The Struggle for Freedom, Liberty, Justice and Equality

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Washington, DC . . . On Wednesday, April 18, at 7 PM, the National Archives will host a panel discussion on “DC Emancipation: The Struggle for Freedom, Liberty, Justice and Equality.”  This event is free and open to the public and will take place in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.  Attendees should use the Special Events Entrance, located on the National Mall at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, NW.  

In observance of the 150th anniversary of DC emancipation, John Franklin, director of partnerships and international programs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), will moderate a panel discussion including Phillip W. Magness, professor of public policy, George Mason University; Roger Davidson, professor of history, Coppin State University; Andrew Zimmerman, professor of history, George Washington University; and C.R. Gibbs, public historian. Panel discussion topics will include Senator Henry Wilson, the author of the DC Compensated Emancipation Act; colonization after emancipation; Lincoln in the movement for black resettlement; patriotism and African American service in the Civil War; and the globalization of cheap labor markets in Africa.  Presented in partnership with the D.C. City Government and NMAAHC.

The National Archives is fully accessible and Assisted Listening Devices are available in the McGowan Theater upon request.  To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please e-mail or call (202) 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event.  To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call 202-357-5333, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at:

RELATED DISPLAY:  Original DC Emancipation Act from the National Archives on loan to the Capitol Visitor’s Center
On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. African Americans in Washington, DC, greeted emancipation with great jubilation. For many years afterward, they celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals. The original act, signed by President Lincoln, is on loan to the Capitol Visitor Center through September 9, 2012.

The National Archives is fully accessible. To verify the date and times of the programs, call 202-357-5333, or view the Calendar of Events online at

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.


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