DC Emancipation Day

Come honor and celebrate the ancestors in this sacred burial ground that also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad

Join us as we celebrate and learn more about those that were Emancipated on April 16, 1862. We will start with a libation ceremony and a reading of the names. We encourage anyone who would like to share about an emancipated ancestor, a song, poem, reading to come ready. Feel free to contact the organizer for more information.

Why here? 

Mt Zion ( 1809) and Female Union Band Society (1842) cemeteries are the oldest Black cemeteries in Washington DC. This is where many of the freed, enslaved and emancipated are interred. This place also served as refuge for the living as a stop on the Underground Railroad. April 16, 1862, marks the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. Over 3,000 enslaved persons were freed eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation liberated slaves in the South. The District also has the distinction of being the only part of the United States to have compensated slave owners for freeing enslaved persons they held.

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