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Rachel Cooper

Washington DC Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

By December 20, 2012

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This year, New Year's Eve has a special historical significance as we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of "Freedom's Eve." On December 31, 1862, the African American community gathered together in anticipation of the promise of freedom declared by the Emancipation Proclamation. All slaves were declared free on New Year's Day, January 1, 1863. Washington DC will celebrate "Freedom's Eve" with special commemorative events throughout the day and night on December 31, 2012. Here's the schedule. These events should be a unique and memorable way to ring in the new year. They are outdoors so be sure to dress for the weather.

Events at the Lincoln Memorial
  • 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Junior Ranger Activities
  • 3-3:45 p.m. - The Emancipation Proclamation: The Vigil. National Mall Living History Performers.
  • 4-5 p.m. - Sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Living History Program.
  • 5-5:30 p.m. - The Emancipation Proclamation. Ranger Talk.
  • 7-7:30 p.m. - 1862: The Turning Point for Abolition. Ranger Talk.
  • 11:15 p.m.-12:00 a.m. - Night Watch and Freedom's Eve Vigil - Reenactment.
The Memorial is located at 23rd St. NW, Washington, DC at the West End of the National Mall. See more about the Lincoln Memorial

Event at Presidents Park
  • 9-10 p.m. - Voices of Emancipation. National Mall Living History Performers.

    Presidents Park is located across from the White House. See more about Presidents Park
Guided National Mall Walk
  • 10-11:45 p.m. - Illuminating the Path of Equality. Take an enlightening walk along a path of equality by lantern light, starting at the Washington Monument and ending at the Lincoln Memorial. Ring in the New Year and celebrate 150 years of Freedom and Justice For ALL!
Additional activities will be held at the National Archives. See the Original Emancipation Proclamation and participate in watch night activities.

For general information about visiting the National Mall, including maps, transportation, parking, see Exploring the National Mall.

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