“Celebration of the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia by the Colored People in Washington, April 19, 1866,” Harper’s Weekly , May 12, 1866

On April 19, 1866, the African American citizens of Washington, D.C., celebrated the abolition of slavery. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people proceeded to the White House, where they were addressed by President Andrew Johnson. Two black regiments led the procession, marching past an estimated 10,000 cheering spectators. Proceeding up Pennsylvania Avenue to Franklin Square for religious services and speeches by prominent politicians, the African American citizens made clear that though slavery was abolished, more work was to be done. A sign on top of the speaker’s platform read: “We have received our civil rights. Give us the right of suffrage and the work is done.”

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