I recently had the pleasure of being invited by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to speak at a breakfast gathering honoring D.C. Emancipation Day.
We would be celebrating the 157th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s formal emancipation of over 3,000 enslaved individuals in the district (on April 16, 1862). Several months later, on Jan. 1, 1863, Lincoln would go on to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which legally emancipated the nation’s estimated 4 million slaves.
In this year’s commemoration, the district’s political leadership and distinguished citizens pushed for what they consider a last frontier in the quest for emancipation—the establishment of statehood for the district.
In one sense, I was somewhat surprised to be invited to the event because I am not a supporter of statehood for the district. I believe the Founders of our nation had wise and practical reasons for leaving the district out of the American federation of states.