D.C. marks 150 years of emancipation

WASHINGTON – Monday is Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia, and the holiday is significant for reasons other than inadvertently pushing back the tax filing deadline.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Act’s signing, and to mark the occasion the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center will have a special exhibition featuring an original copy of the legislation, complete with Lincoln’s authentic signature.

D.C. made Emancipation Day a city holiday in 2005. April 16 is the date when President Abraham Lincoln signed the D.C. Emancipation Act in 1862, freeing nearly 3,000 slaves in D.C. The act ended slavery in the District nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

It’s rare that documents like this one go on display.

“They can’t be exhibited for that long, and they have to be exhibited in certain light,” she says, “It’s a very precise science,” says to Sharon Gang, spokesperson for the Capitol Visitor Center.

The document is on loan from the National Archives, and can be seen at the visitor center until September. An expert from the National Archives will speak about the document Monday.

The Capitol Visitor Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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