Last Wednesday DC Councilmember-at-large Vincent Orange, with the aid of BET Networks’ Centric and local media, hosted the 2014 DC Emancipation Day Celebration at Freedom Plaza.

The day, which is celebrated April 16th, acknowledges the abolition of slavery in DC. On that day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act to free certain people held to service in the District. The Act paid 1 million dollars to slave owners to set free 3,100 slaves– nine months before President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the rest of the country’s free labor.

In 2004, Mayor Anthony A. Williams established Emancipation Day an official public holiday in DC, and thus every year since we’ve celebrated the day with a series of activities including city government shutting down, a parade, fireworks and a live festival. This year, we saw Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, Talib Kweli, Raheem DeVaughn, Arrested Development, Def Poet J. Ivy and Black Alley all grace the stage at he free-to-the-public event.

The celebration was a success and saw a huge turnout for the show portion, despite the event being overshadowed by nay-sayers who believed the $350,000 price tag was excessive for such a celebration. Ample mainstream news outlets approached this story from the angle of “no one was there intentionally for the parade; only bystanders and tourists were caught up in the mayhem.” This is why Councilmember Orange spoke to the crowd about the importance of supporting events that honor “our” history– DC History and black history.

While I am not used to the family-friendly environment as a single, twenty-something, it was nice to see the children be able to have fun with adults without any drama or chaos involved. Kids got to learn about Hip-Hop and watch legendary acts sing songs of pride and victory for a change– not the typical derogatory or “money, money, money” rap that’s commonly heard today in Hip-Hop.
Enjoy this photo gallery below, and feel free to share this post with friends and loved ones who may have only looked at this event as a free concert and missed the greater principle behind it.
The Importance of Celebrating OUR History | DC Emancipation Day Celebration 2014 [PHOTOS] Last Wednesday DC Councilmember-at-large Vincent Orange, with the aid of BET Networks’ Centric and local media, hosted the 2014 DC Emancipation Day Celebration at Freedom Plaza.