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Emancipation Day in DC

Today Washington celebrates 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation freeing slaves living in the nations capital. This happend 9 months prior to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that liberated slaves in rebellious states.

“One year into the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was under great pressure to end slavery in the nation. But slavery was legal in Washington, DC, as well as in several states that were loyal to the Union. Lincoln knew that if he were to free the enslaved here, he would greatly anger the slave-owners, whom he relied on to be loyal to the Union. So Lincoln decided to free DC’s enslaved population but also to pay, or “compensate,” the owners for the loss of their human “property ” so that they would stay loyal. On April 16, he issued “an act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia.” In it he noted that owners would be compensated and that money would be appropriated to relocate freedmen and women in Africa.” Taken from Article 

When I heard about this holiday on NPR today I was excited and encouraged. But, in reading the above paragraph I am actually sickened a bit by the fact that people would get angry for having to release their slaves. Seriously, was there no value of human life? Was there no thought that maybe, just maybe people who were not white were still children of God, the God who America was built on? I guess this still is the case today in may circumstances when it comes to prejudice and not valuing human life. Something similar to this is going on in Norway as I write.

Regardless, today is a day to celebrate freedom in the USA and a day to pray for Justice in Norway. I am thankful we are still celebrating the abolition of slavery and the victory of justice, I just pray that we keep moving in that direction and see a beautiful world filled with people doing justice and honoring one another.

 

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