- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Yesterday was the first time in 100 years that the District staged a parade to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed 3,100 enslaved blacks in the city.
Majorettes, drummers and horn blowers pranced along the parade route in yesterday's sweltering heat, accompanied by police and National Guard units, educators and former and present D.C. officials in celebration of the 140th birthday of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Leading the parade was Grand Marshal Alfred James Austin, a Philadelphia resident and great-grandson of William Calvin Chase, a chief organizer of the Emancipation Day parades in the late 1800s.
A contingent of D.C. officials followed, including Mayor Anthony A. Williams, congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the 13 D.C. Council members, Shadow Senators Florence Pendleton and Paul Strauss; former Mayors Sharon Pratt and Marion S. Barry Jr., and former Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy.
Riding in a convertible among them was a little girl sitting beside a man wearing a feathered Indian headdress and colored garb.
Some participants used the parade to campaign for the right of D.C. members to vote in the U.S. Congress. "Free DC" was the mantra of the day. It was emblazoned on a sign on the side of the car carrying Mrs. Pendleton and on the cap worn by Mr. Barry, who got some of the crowd to chant the slogan.
The Jubilee Day celebration began when hundreds attended a church service in Fort Washington and continued virtually nonstop through a 10 a.m. parade, a 2 p.m. program, music by D.C. public school students at 3:30 p.m., a performance by go-go star Chuck Brown at 6:30 p.m., bells ringing in the Post Office Pavilion tower and fireworks at 8:45 p.m.
Called "Juneteenth" in most states celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation, the District's observance was formally legalized two years ago when the D.C. Council established the "private legal holiday" and Mr. Williams signed it into law.
The legislation was sponsored by council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat, who is founder and head of the D.C. Emancipation Foundation.
The first parade yesterday, which included marching bands from three high schools and Bowie State University, began on Pennsylvania Avenue at Fourth Street NW and ended at 14th Street NW, which was blocked off for the program at Freedom Square.
There were few observers along the parade route, but hundreds of office workers crowded into shade of an office building at Freedom Square during the lunch hour to watch the prancing marchers and listen to dance band music performed by Archbishop Carroll, Suitland and Largo high schools, and Bowie State.
The first Emancipation Day parade in Washington was staged after the Civil War ended in 1865. The parades continued annually until 1902 when organizers quarreled over plans and participants.
The District's celebration is unique because the Emancipation Proclamation was declared for D.C. slaves eight months before others were declared free in the Civil War states.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation for the District on April 16, 1862, freeing 3,100 enslaved blacks. The federal government gave owners $300 for each person who was freed.
In 1863, Lincoln declared all slaves freed in the states involved in the Civil War. Slavery was abolished in all states when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865.

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