D.C. Emancipation Day
In honor of D.C. Emancipation Day, noted, local, award-winning international lecturer, author and historian of the African Diaspora, C.R. Gibbs will tell the story of the first United States Colored Troops, the District’s black Civil War regiment at a lecture entitled “Their Valor Purchased Liberty for All: The District of Columbia’s Black Civil War Regiment.” The program will be held on Wednesday, April 11, at 7 p.m.
C.R. Gibbs is also among the scholars that the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum featured on its Online Academy. In addition to being a D.C. Community Humanities scholar, he prepared video scripts on black history for D.C. Public Schools and WHUR-FM Radio. He has conducted research on black Civil War units as well as served as technical adviser to the Frances Thompson company on a film entitled American Years. He has written numerous books, most notably Black Explorers, Black Inventors: from Africa to America and Friends of Frederick Douglass, a children’s book. His articles have appeared in numerous respected journals, including the Negro History Bulletin and African American Inventors.
The D.C. Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 ended slavery in Washington, D.C., freed 3,100 individuals, reimbursed those who had legally owned them and offered the newly freed women and men money to emigrate. It is this legislation, and the courage and struggle of those who fought to make it a reality, that we commemorate every April 16, D.C. Emancipation Day.