Emancipation Day Washington, D.C. - Act of April 16, 1862. FREE PHOTO IMAGES (For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia)
On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed this bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Passage of this act came 8 1/2 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act brought to conclusion decades of agitation aimed at ending what antislavery advocates called "the national shame" of slavery in the nation's capital. The law provided for immediate emancipation, compensation to loyal Unionist masters of up to $300 for each freed slave, voluntary colonization of former slaves to colonies outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 to each person choosing emigration.
Over the next nine months the federal government granted almost $1 million for the freedom of approxiamtely 3,100 former slaves. The District of Columbia Emancipation Act is the only example of compensated emancipation in the United States. Though its three-way approach of immediate emancipation, compensation, and colonization did not serve as a model for the future, it was an early signal of slavery's death. Emancipation was greeted with great jubilation by the District's African-American community. For many years afterward, black Washingtonians celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals.
Creator(s): National Archives and Records Administration. Office of the Federal Register. (04/01/1985 - ) (Most Recent) Department of State. (09/1789 - ) (Predecessor) Type(s) of Archival Materials: Textual Records.
Contact(s): Archives I Reference Section, Textual Archives Services Division (NWCT1R), National Archives Building, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20408. PHONE: 202-357-5385; FAX: 202-357-5936; EMAIL: Archives1reference@nara.gov.
Production Date(s): 04/16/1862. Part Of: Series: Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, compiled 1789 - 2008. MLR Number: A-1 5A (1789-1823 segment), A-1 5B (1824-1956 segment) (...)
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Specific Records Type(s): laws. General Note(s): The text of all federal laws is published in the U.S. Statutes at Large, a multivolume publication available at libraries nationwide. Exhibit history: "An Act for the Release of Certain Persons..." National Archives Rotunda, April 14-May 1, 1995.
Online Resource: Wikisource. Online Resource URL: en.wikisource.org/. Online Resource Note: A transcription of this item can be viewed on Wikisource, the free online library of primary texts.
Variant Control Number(s): NAIL Control Number: NWCTB-11-LAWSPI159E6-PL37(50). NAIL Control Number: NWDT1-11-LAWS-PI159E6-PL37(50) Other Identifier: 03545. This is the NARA internal exhibit tracking number. Index Terms: Subjects Represented in the Archival Material:
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