GU and District to Mark D.C. Emancipation Act Anniversary
April 5, 2012 – The District of Columbia and Georgetown University will present a program on April 17 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862.
The act freed 3,100 people in the District of Columbia nine months before Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Although the amount of slaves in the city was relatively small, compared to say, Charleston or New Orleans, its role in bringing human chattel into the city, displaying them at the many slave trading centers and selling and shipping them to points south made the small town, in reality, a major center of slave trading in the nation,” says Georgetown history professor Maurice Jackson.
Jackson and Chandra Manning, another Georgetown history professor, will make presentations at the event, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the university’s Copley Formal Lounge.
At-large Council Member Vincent Orange, the original sponsor of legislation declaring April 16th a holiday in the District, will present the Council's Sesquicentennial Proclamation and Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to attend later in the program to make closing remarks.
A continental breakfast will be served from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. while the Georgetown University Gospel Choir sings the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The program will start promptly at 9:30 with opening remarks by Raymond B. Kemp, a priest and senior research fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, which is located at Georgetown.
The Georgetown event is part of a large number of commemorative events the District of Columbia is hosting on and before April 16, the day Lincoln signed the act.
Jackson is an associate professor of history and African-American studies and an affiliated professor of performing arts in jazz. His book, Let This Voice be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism, was published in 2009 by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
The professor and Georgetown alumnus is now working on a book called Halfway to Freedom: African-Americans in Washington, D.C., which will cover all phases of African American life in Washington, D.C. – from the time slaves were held in pens during calls for democracy – to today’s gentrifying neighborhoods.
He will present “The Meaning of the Emancipation in the Nation's Capital: 1862 and 2012” on April 17.
Manning will speak on “The Center of the Action: Runaway Slaves and the Union Army in Washington, D.C., and the Occupied South.”
The associate professor is the author of What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War, which won the Avery Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize.
Manning is working on a book about Civil War contraband camps, freed people's post-Civil War migration and the struggle over the meaning of citizenship in the 19th century United States.
A question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.
To RSVP for the event by April 10, 2012, call Brenda Atkinson-Willoughby at 202-687-5677.