Nine months before President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, on April 16, 1862, he signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, granting freedom to 3,100 enslaved persons in the District of Columbia. The Compensated Emancipation Act was a significant step in ending the institution of slavery in the United States. Since 2005 the District of Columbia has commemorated this day with an official public holiday – DC Emancipation Day. To mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act a number of educational and cultural events will take place throughout the city. Signature events taking place April 11 – April 16 include a parade, film screening, special exhibitions and a “Great Debate” Saturday, April 14 at the Lincoln Theater hosted by C.B. Homes and participants including Rev. Al Sharpton and the provocative thought leader, activist and author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Get more details about upcoming Emancipation Day events here.