The Washington Post

Panel discussion on D.C. emancipation on Monday

This is a great weekend to be in Washington for history-interested residents and visitors because it is the 150th anniversary of the compensated emancipation of local slaves and there are many events planned for the occasion. Local emancipation took place about nine months before President Abraham Lincoln issued the better-known Emancipation Proclamation.

An exhibit and panel discussion at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. on Monday may have been left out of earlier lists. On the actual anniversary date of the April 16, 1862, emancipation, the Society will be exhibiting its local history collection as well as one contributed by D.C. churches.

From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., panelists John O’Brien and Wilson Gordon of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (Lincoln’s church) and Ida E. Jones, assistant curator at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center will discuss how local residents and church congregations brought about change in Washington in the 1860s.

The building alone is worth the visit. Located on K Street, between 7th and 9th Streets at Mt. Vernon Square, it has the grandeur of a Beaux-Arts building with a grand sweep of a staircase entrance, carved ornamental detail over doors and windows and a spacious lobby with a curved double staircase leading to the second floor. It was funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1903 as the city’s public library.


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