DC Emancipation Day to be Marked by Exhibits, Scholar Talks, Poetry Readings and more

hillcenterprogramlogoThe Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital will present its second annual Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration from April 15-17. These “four days of celebratory and scholarly programs” will “engage attendees in a deeper understanding of the African American experience during the civil war by bringing together a diverse group of prominent scholars, artists, and public figures.” The series was supported, in part, by a grant from Humanities DC.

Scheduled Programs:

Friday, April 15


Race and Democracy in Washington, DC: Civil War through WWII

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King moderates a conversation with Drs. G. Derek Musgrove and Chris Myers Asch. Musgrove is an associate professor of history at University of Maryland Baltimore County and Asch teaches history at Colby College. Musgrove and Asch are co-authors of Chocolate City: Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital.

Saturday, April 16


Historic Walking Tour: Mapping Segregation

A walking tour of the adjacent LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale neighborhoods that will focus on the rise of DC’s black middle class and elite, including the intellectual, professional, and artistic community that gravitated to the Howard University area. The tour will include a discussion of the life and work of Charles Hamilton Houston, the former Howard University Law School dean and NAACP attorney who led efforts to fight racially restrictive housing in DC and nationwide. Houston represented the Bloomingdale couple whose case contributed to the Supreme Court’s 1948 ruling that racially restrictive covenants were not legally enforceable.


Cherry Blossom and Emancipation Day Parade Students from the Phelps Architecture, Constitution, and Engineering High School will design, build, and staff an Emancipation Day Float that will appear in the 2016 Cherry Blossom Parade and the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Parade.


African American Women during Slavery and Freedom

A moderated conversation with Dr. Hannah Rosen. Rosen is an assistant professor of history and American studies at the College of William and Mary and author of Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South.

Sunday, April 17


Racial Passing in American Life

A moderated conversation with Dr. Allyson Hobbs. Hobbs is an assistant professor of American history at Stanford University. She is the author of A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life.


African American Music from the Civil War Era presented by The Washington Revels Jubilee Voices  — an ensemble committed to the preservation of African-American history and traditions–presenting songs and stories of struggle and perseverance, trials and triumphs, as expressed through a cappella music, drama and dance.

The events are free to attend, but advance registration is required. Attendees must register separately for each event at benjamindrummonddc.org.

The program is supported by HumanitiesDC, the Mayor’s Office, the American Historical Association, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

For more information contact the Hill Center info@HillCenterDC.org.