The Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy marches down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Emancipation Day Parade on Saturday, April 16, 2016 in northwest. /Photo by Patricia Little @5feet2
**FILE** The Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy marches down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Emancipation Day Parade in D.C. on April 16, 2016. (Patricia Little/The Washington Informer)

After several years of being postponed due to the pandemic, D.C. residents can finally celebrate, live and in person, the District’s most important day of the year – Emancipation Day. 

This year’s festivities take place at Freedom Plaza, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, across from the John A. Wilson Building. 

And once again, there will be plenty of festivities – good food, good music, fireworks and a lot of friends gathering, safely of course, to mark this historic day in the District’s history. 

OCTFME Director Angie M. Gates and her team have things well in hand and as in years past, as Don Cornelius used to say on “Soul Train,” “it’s gonna be a stone gas.” 

For those unfamiliar with Emancipation Day, the annual event recalls April 16, 1862, when over 3,000 enslaved people were freed eight months before President Abraham Lincoln, in the Emancipation Proclamation, liberated slaves in the South. The District also has the distinction of being the only 

part of the U.S. to have compensated slave owners for freeing the enslaved individuals they held captive. It has been an official public holiday in the District since 2005.

This year, on the eve of Emancipation Day, Mayor Muriel Bowser will present a one-hour TV special chronicling the long journey toward D.C. statehood. It’s something you don’t want to miss (April 16, 4 p.m. on WUSA9 and 8 p.m. on DCN). 

It will be hosted by Andrea Roane and the late Bruce Johnson, who recently died after suffering a heart attack. 

Enjoy the day but remember, the fight continues for D.C. statehood. Ain’t no stopping us now!

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