Before Emancipation: Slavery and Freedom in the District of Columbia,1790-1862

Woodridge Library

Before Emancipation: Slavery and Freedom in the District of Columbia,1790-1862

C.R. Gibbs Lecture

In honor of D.C. Emancipation Day, noted, local, award-winning international lecturer, author and historian of the African Diaspora, C.R. Gibbs will present a lecture  entitled,  DC Emancipation entitled, “Before Emancipation: Slavery and Freedom in the District of Columbia, 1790-1862. The program will be held on Wednesday, April 15, 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.

A wide range of events are arranged in Washington, D.C. to mark Emancipation Day. These are spread throughout the month of April and include exhibitions, public discussions, presentations of historic documents, the laying of wreaths, concerts and poetry readings. The events aim to educate a broad spectrum of people about the history of the municipality of the District of Columbia in general and slavery in particular. Attention is also paid to the African origin of many slaves and racial issues in modern American society.