Howard University played host to the 147th anniversary of D.C. Emancipation Day with the “Race and Emancipation in the Age of Lincoln” conference.
Of the 12 sessions one in particular, Emancipation in the District of Columbia, focused on the history of Emancipation Day and its highly debated future here in the District.
An audience of 55 was on hand at the university’s school of business auditorium. Among them was history enthusiast, Quantel Bazemore who attended sessions throughout the week.
“History is important to me, I wanted to hear different of Lincoln, instead of the romanticized prospective that is taught throughout school,” says Bazemore.
Bazemore feels that Emancipation Day would get more recognition from people within and outside of D.C. if it were celebrated with other events significant to black history, such as Juneteenth.
Though the public holiday, April 16, is heavily overlooked, it has single handedly shifted the income tax filing deadline from April 16 to April 17.
The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Edna Medford, associate professor to Howard University’s history department. Presentations were given by historian C.R. Gibbs, and D.C. Emancipation Coordinator Peter Hanes.
“The presenters were highly knowledgably, but none of them spoke with passion, it would have been better if they had attempted to make a connection with the students, possibly by hinting to locations in D.C. where slavery would have been,” says Howard student Omar McKenzie.
“I always believe knowledge is power, and it may empower Washingtonians to push for emancipation of the African American population in DC,” says Bazemore.