Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Robert White’s Office

Nearly 160 years ago, 3,000 enslaved Africans in the District received nominal freedom through the passage and signing of legislation. This happened nearly nine months before Abraham Lincoln signed what most people know as the Emancipation Proclamation.

Every spring, Washingtonians commemorate what’s called D.C. Emancipation Day with a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue and concert on Freedom Plaza, along with other activities focused on D.C. history and current issues affecting native Washingtonians.

In this special AllEyesOnDC segment, grassroots journalist Sam P.K.Collins and At-large D.C Councilmember Robert White (D) speak about the meaning of D.C. Emancipation Day and how White, a fifth-generation Washingtonian, has been able to tackle issues related to the welfare of other D.C. natives. This dialogue in the Councilmember White’s office took place hours before he stood alongside #DontMuteDC protesters pushing back against an order to shut down go-go music on 7th Street and Florida Avenue, an intersection in Shaw of historic significance.

Please take some time out of your day to watch this clip, and understand Councilmember White’s take on the following:

  • How D.C. Emancipation Day has been celebrated.
  • How to institutionalize the instruction of D.C. Emancipation history
  • Financial literacy for youth
  • How D.C. natives can navigate the political process
  • His chairmanship of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement