African American News and Genealogy

This site was developed to provide you with news that relates to African American Genealogy, History and News. Please feel free to forward this link to others. I hope you enjoy this site and good luck with your research! Cheers, Kenyatta D. Berry Managing Director

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Freedom rings loud and clear in District

By Lisa Rauschart SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES One hundred forty-three years ago this Saturday, church bells and fancy dress balls were the order of the day as Washingtonians celebrated the end of slavery in the District of Columbia. For years afterward, parades, programs, and other celebrations were a particular rite of spring and affirmation for black Washingtonians. That's D.C. Emancipation (1862), not the Emancipation Proclamation (1863). "It was such a unique situation," says Council member Vincent Orange, who sponsored the legislation establishing April 16 as a public holiday in celebration of D.C. emancipation. "It actually anticipated Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation by nine months." So you never knew about those Emancipation Day parades, which involved thousands and wended their way along the city's major thoroughfares? You never knew that a cemetery on Benning Road contains some of the leading black citizens of post-Civil War Washington? Did you know that Abraham Lincoln retreated to a small cottage north of the White House to work on his own Emancipation Proclamation? These and other stories are part of the nation's capital's other history, hidden to some, but always obvious to others. Things will become a little more apparent after this weekend, with a host of events planned to celebrate Emancipation Day and the presentation of Walking Town, a series of 55 tours into all corners of the city, with several designed to highlight neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. "We wanted to showcase the entire city as a cultural community," says Kathy Smith, outgoing director of Cultural Tourism DC, a coalition of 140 cultural and arts organizations from every part of the city, which is coordinating the Walking Town project. "Eighteen to twenty million people come every year to the National Mall and never find the city." Full Story:


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