Emancipation Day Celebrations April 16. Sketch of the celebration of the Abolition of Slavery in DC.
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 broader Emancipation Proclamation. The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act represents the only example of compensation by the federal government to former owners of emancipated slaves.
Emancipation came to the colored race in America as a war measure. It was an act of military necessity. Manifestly it would have come without war, in the slower process of humanitarian reform and social enlightenment.
The Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, was put into effect on January 1, 1863, but news of the Proclamation and enforcement did not reach Texas until after the end of the Civil War almost two years later.