is celebrated in various locations in observation generally of the emancipation of slaves.
The Slavery Abolition Act 1833
ended slavery in the British Empire on August 1
. Emancipation Day is widely observed in the British West Indies
during the first week of August, with most celebrating it on August 1
and the others on the first Monday in August. In some Caribbean countries the Emancipation Day celebration is a part of carnivals
which take place during this time.
observes emancipation in an unofficial commemoration on May 20
. In the capital, Tallahassee
, Civil War reenactors
playing the part of Major General
Edward McCook and other union soldiers
act out the speech General McCook gave from the steps of the Knott House
. This was the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
of Washington, D.C.
, celebrates April 16
as Emancipation Day. On that day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln
signed the Compensated Emancipation
Act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia
. The Act freed about 3,100 enslaved persons in the District of Columbia nine months before President Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation
which presaged the eventual end of slavery
to the rest of the nation. The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act represents the only example of compensation by the federal government to former owners of emancipated slaves.
On January 4, 2005, Mayor Anthony Williams signed legislation making Emancipation Day an official public holiday in the District. Each year, a series of activities will be held during the public holiday including the traditional Emancipation Day parade celebrating the freedom of enslaved persons in the District of Columbia. The Emancipation Day celebration was held yearly from 1866 to 1901, and was resumed as a tradition and historic celebration in 2002 as a direct result of years of research, lobbying and leadership done by Ms. Loretta Carter-Hanes.
In 2007, the observance of this holiday in Washington DC had the effect of nationally extending the 2006 income tax filing deadline from the 16th to the 17th of April, a delay that will recur in April of 2012. This 2007 date change was not discovered until after many forms went to print.
In Texas, Emancipation Day is celebrated on June 19
. It commemorates the announcement in Texas of the abolition of slavery made on that day in 1865. It is commonly known as Juneteenth
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
celebrates Emancipation Day, an official holiday, on March 22