DC Emancipation Day Program

Frederick Douglass, Washington, DC and the Emancipation of Slavery in the Nation's Capital

Muller Pic

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, granting freedom to 3,100 enslaved persons in the District of Columbia. The act passed nine months before Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation, and granted freedom to enslaved persons in the District of Columbia as the country's first freed from the institution of slavery. The District also has the distinction of being the only part of the United States to have compensated slave owners for freeing enslaved persons they held.


In 2005, DC Emancipation Day was made an official public holiday in the District of Columbia. In commemoration of this historic event, the DC Public Library will host a lecture presented by Mr. John Muller, author of the highly acclaimed, recent biography on Frederick Douglass entitled, Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia.

Mr. Muller will discuss the abolitionist work of Frederick Douglass, the emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia and the impact of the Compensated Emancipation Act on the lives of newly freed African Americans in the District of Columbia.

This lecture will take place in the Black Studies Center, Room 310 on April 15, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. For more information about this program, contact the Information Services Department, 202-727-1261.