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Emancipation parade returns April 16

(Published April 8, 2002)

The D.C. Emancipation Day parade, once considered one of the largest parades in the United States, will return to Pennsylvania Avenue NW on April 16 after a 100-year absence.

The parade celebrates the 1862 federal law that ended slavery in the nation's capital nine months before President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves throughout the United States.

April 16 is officially "District of Columbia Emancipation Day." D.C. law allows private-sector workers and public employees to use any paid or unpaid leave as a day off to commemorate the occasion, according to Councilman Vincent Orange, D-Ward 5, who co-sponsored creation of the holiday several years ago along with Councilwoman Carol Schwartz, R-At Large.

This year's parade will kick off at 10 a.m. at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and end at Freedom Plaza at 14th Street, across from the Wilson Building, the District's city hall. Elected officials are expected to speak at 2 p.m. at Freedom Plaza. D.C. public school students will perform at the plaza from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a free concert featuring Chuck Brown. A fireworks display is scheduled to begin at 8:45 p.m.

Other local activities planned to commemorate D.C. Emancipation Day include

a historical program from noon-2 p.m. April 11 in Room 345 of the Canon House Office Building, featuring the Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth United Congregational Church and historian Carroll R. Gibbs.

a wreath-laying program from 10 a.m.-noon April 13 at the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park on East Capitol Street.

an invitational golf tournament April 13 at Langston Golf Course and Driving Range in Northeast Washington.

an awards gala at Howard University April 14, featuring former D.C. mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and honoring 14 African-Americans for their achievements.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator