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DC Slavery & Emancipation

Celebrating DC Emancipation Day on April 15, honoring President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act in 1862 -- which freed 3,185 slaves in Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser reaffirmed the city's longstanding goal, “Each year, we use this historic moment to renew our push for full democracy and statehood for the residents of the District of Columbia.”

Coinciding with Emancipation Day commemorative events, Georgetown University has convened a series of working groups on slavery, memory, and reconciliation through April 21, 2016. Dr. Adam Rothman, associate professor and member of the working group explained, "These events are intended to deepen our community's understanding of the history of slavery at Georgetown and in Washington, D.C., and to explore its ramifications and legacies today."

“In fall 1838, 272 men, women and children who belonged to the nation’s most prominent Jesuit priests were sold as slaves to help secure the future of Georgetown University,” The New York Times reported recently.

Genealogists are seeking connections to the 1838 Slave Sale. After researching your family history, if you find a connection to either these enslaved African-Americans or to the priests who owned and sold them, please let The New York Times know.