Slaves were instrumental in the construction of the nation’s capital and helped to build the White House, too.
While most Americans are familiar with the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued on January 1st, 1863, Lincoln issued a similar document less than nine months before.
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This year marks the 150 year anniversary of the DC Emancipation signing and ceremonies will be held in the capital with Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, Joel Osteen and other local officials expected to be in attendance. Lincoln’s signing of the the DC Act during the Civil War gave many observers an indication that the Emancipation Proclamation was soon to follow.
Some local officials use the day to push Congress to grant it autonomy.
ABC News has more:
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents D.C. residents in Congress, noted that the city’s budget is controlled by Congress, and that residents have no representation in Congress. No senators represent more than 600,000 Washington residents and the delegate in the House — Holmes Norton — is not able to vote on the passage of legislation.
“Emancipation Day will seem a little peculiar for a city that remains under the thumbs of Congress,” Holmes Norton said. “That recognition fuels our indignation and determination to free ourselves and give full meaning to the term ’emancipation.”