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Today in History: April 16

Slide 2 of 15: On April 16, 1862, the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act became law. Originally sponsored by Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, the act freed slaves in the District of Columbia and compensated owners up to $300 for each freeperson. In the months following the enactment of the law, commissioners approved more than 930 petitions, granting freedom to 2,989 former slaves.

1862 Slavery abolished in District of Columbia

President Abraham Lincoln signs an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, an important step in the long road toward full emancipation and enfranchisement for African Americans. The act freed slaves in the District of Columbia and compensated owners up to $300 for each free person.

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