Lois Leveen


April 15, 2012

Death and Taxes: Only One of Them Gets a Civil War-Themed Extension This Year

"The chambermaid had left the room sobbing for joy...Were I a drinker I would get on a Jolly spree today"

I know that sounds like a scene out of a naughty film. But it's not.

The weeping chambermaid and would-be Jolly drinker (he prayed instead) were among the first slaves emancipated during the Civil War. In April 1862, eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, President Lincoln and Congress worked together (imagine that!) to pass special legislation freeing the 3,000 slaves in the nation's capital.

Emancipation Day is still celebrated each year in Washington, D.C.
It's important not just for changing the lives of those 3,000 people, and their families and friends, but also for providing a significant precursor to the Emancipation Proclamation, and beyond that to the ending of slavery throughout the United States.

For those of you who aren't Civil War-obsessed, it means one more day before you have to file your income taxes, because April 16 is a holiday in D.C.

But really, who isn't Civil War obsessed????
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