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DC Emancipation Day

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The National Park Service presents “Experience Emancipation Day Where it All Began … Lincoln Park”

Last Date:

East Capitol Street, SE & 11th Street, NE
Lincoln Park

The past and the present come together at Lincoln Park on April 16 with the celebration of Emancipation Day.  The program includes activities for families and children, a recreation of Frederick Douglass’s epic Emancipation Day speech and the unveiling of the historic Emancipation Group statue.  The program gives visitors an appreciation of the meaning of Emancipation Day and highlights the importance of city parks like Lincoln Park to city life.


2 pm – The program starts with a variety of children’s activities including: Reading Ranger (where a Ranger reads stories about the Civil War and Emancipation), a puppet show, Civil War “drill” with wooden muskets, learning to identify trees in your park by “Ranger Joe,” and a table where you can make your own miniature monument with clay.  Children’s activities end at 5:00 pm.


3:30 pm – An actor portraying Frederick Douglass will deliver a shortened version of the speech given on Emancipation Day in 1876 dedicating the Emancipation Group statue.


5 pm – Concert by Federal City Brass Band.  Dressed in Civil War uniforms, the band members use original instruments from the 1860s.  They will be playing music heard on Emancipation Day 142 years ago!


5:30 pm – “Conflict of Commemoration,” a discussion about the meaning of the Emancipation Group statue.


6:30 pm – Reenactment of the 1876 dedication of the Emancipation Group statue. This 20-minute program involves: Civil War era band concert, public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and “Frederick Douglass” delivering his keynote address. See “President Grant” pull the lanyard to unveil the statue.


7:30 pm – “National Treasure” A Ranger-led flashlight talk about the hidden allegories and symbolism in the Emancipation Group statue.