April 15th is suppose to be the deadline for filing your income taxes. That is the deadline every year, unless of course that day falls on a weekend, and then the deadline is the following Monday. The 15th falls on a Friday this year. So why is the deadline on Monday?
As we know by now, it is because there is a holiday in Washington, D.C. That holiday is Emancipation Day. But what is Emancipation Day? I had never heard of it and wondered why Washington, D. C. is the only district that celebrates it. So I have done some research.
April 16th is the actual date that is celebrated, but this year it falls on a Saturday so it will be celebrated on the Friday before. On April 16th, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill, the Compensation Emancipation Act, into legislation ending slavery in the District of Columbia nine months before he issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act freed around 3,100 slaves.
The act provided for emancipation and $300 compensation for loyal Union slave owners who freed their slaves, voluntary colonization of former slaves to locations outside of the United States and payments of $100 to each person choosing emigration. African Americans were thrilled with their freedom and celebrated the signing of this act on April 16th from 1866 to 1901 with parades and festivals. The celebrations resumed in 2002.
In 2005 Emancipation Day became an official holiday in Washington, D. C. A week before the holiday, a series of commemorative and educational activities are held that celebrates the end of slavery in Washington, D. C. On the day of the holiday a parade is held.
Other Emancipation Day celebrations
- Columbus, Mississippi – May 8th
- Texas – June 19th
- Puerto Rico – March 22
- U. S. Virgin Island – July 3rd
I hope you find this information as interesting as I did. I would love to hear some comments.