District Day 2023
In coordination with the DC Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs, NMAAHC is hosting a District Day to celebrate DC Emancipation Day, which freed 3,000 enslaved individuals in the nation's capital.
In the spirit of celebration, residents across the region (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) are invited to the museum for a day filled with live performances, guided conversations, and a special District Day menu from the Sweet Home Café.
Admission is free; however, registration is required.
The act entitled ‘an act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia,’ has this day been approved and signed. President Abraham Lincoln
With these life-altering words, written April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in the District of Columbia. Over 3,000 enslaved persons were freed eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation liberated slaves in the South. Passage of this law came 8 1/2 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act provided immediate emancipation of slaves, compensation to former owners who were loyal to the Union of up to $300 for each freed slave, voluntary colonization of former slaves to locations outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 for each person choosing emigration.
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… Newly emancipated Black D.C. resident (unknown)
Chuck Brown, the "Godfather of Go-Go"
A Right to the City
Sweet Home Café District Day Menu
Prepared by Sweet Home Café Executive Chef Ramin Coles, Restaurant Associates
Chili Cheese Half Smoke
Chili Cheese Fries
Chicken Wings with Mumbo sauce
Steak & Cheese Eggroll
Vegetable Lo Mein
Spicy Green Beans with Beef
The Mix "Lemonade & Iced Tea"
Afrofuturism: The Origin Story
In support of NMAAHC’s newest exhibition, Afrofuturism - A History of Black Futures, the museum is pleased to screen the Afrofuturism: The Origin Story documentary to honor District Day. Produced by the Smithsonian Channel, the film, directed by Alexis Aggrey, a DC native, celebrates the centuries-old tradition that combines sci-fi/fantasy and history as a transformative element of the African American experience. Museum staff will provide a pre-screening overview and welcome.
to hire good labouring negroes by the year, the masters clothing them well and finding each a blanket, the commissioners finding them provisions and paying twenty-one pounds a year. Legislation passed by the Commissioners of the Federal City (DC) introducing slavery April 13, 1792
DMV Makers in the Museum Store
While visiting the museum, make sure to view the following objects related to the District of Columbia.