Today, is Emancipation Day, established in 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln, which ended slavery in Washington DC bringing freedom to 3,100 individuals. The Compensated Emancipation Act was signed on April 16 and is a public holiday in Washington DC.
Historian C.R.Gibbs writes, “News of Lincoln’s action raced through the city. The joy in the District’s black community was dramatic and profound. One black District citizen wrote to a friend in Baltimore, “This indeed has been a happy day to me sights have I witnessed that I have anticipated.”
"He then described how he gave the happy news to two female friends of his, one of whom had an enslaved son:
When I entered they perceived that something was ahead and emmediately [sic] asked me “What’s the news?” The District’s free says I pulling out the “National Republic” and reading its editorial. When I had finished the chambermaid had left the room sobbing for joy. The slave women clapped her hands and shouted, left the house saying, “let me go and tell my husband that Jesus has done all things well.” While the cook who is free retired to another room to offer thanks for the blessing sent. Should I not feel glad to see so much rejoicing around me? Were I a drinker I would get on a Jolly spree today, but as a Christian I can but kneel in prayer and bless God for the privilege I’ve enjoyed this day….Would to God that the Law applied also to Baltimore but a little patience and all will be well.”
The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, which immediately freed 50,000 slaves and applied to 3 million of the 4 million slaves in the United States at that time. Formal slavery did not become illegal until the end of the Civil War in 1865 which officially ended slavery in our country.
Declared freedom comes before full freedom. The prophet Isaiah, told about a Messiah coming to set people free centuries before Jesus came. All who believe and follow Jesus are set free, yet a fuller freedom happens when Jesus comes back and establishes His kingdom on earth.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Celebrate three things today:
- An extra day to do taxes.
- The end of slavery in our country.
- Freedom in Christ Jesus.