Apr 16, 2014 Today is Emancipation Day 2014 in the land of taxation without representation
The following blog entry is a reprint from my April 16, 2012, posting:
The District of Columbia remains not fully emancipated, by having been denied statehood right to this day, and with Congress having the final say on whether its passed legislation will or will not become law. If D.C. statehood has not become a reality during the presidential administrations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, when will it ever become a state?
Hawaii became the last state, fifty-two years ago. How much is race a factor in the denial of statehood to Washington, D.C., which for decades has long had a black majority, although that has fallen to near fifty percent? Other obstacles to D.C. statehood include Republican concern about D.C.’s overwhelmingly Democratic voting record, the small size of the city (under 700,000), and possibly its having been carved out of Maryland without a sufficiently influential movement to encourage retrocession of D.C. back to Maryland, excepting from retrocession the federal enclave stretching from the Capitol to the White House and Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.
One hundred fifty yeas ago — and many months before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation — President Lincoln ordered the freeing of slaves in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., has a very Southern feel in its race relations history. Slaves built many of the federal government buildings. Right through the 1950’s at the very least, customary segregation led there to be racial segregation in such places as movie theaters, relegating black people to the balconies. For quite some time, apparently right into the 1960’s, when buses arrived in Virginia from neighboring Washington, D.C., the bus driver directed African Americans to the back of the bus, sometimes on the Fourteenth Street Bridge before the bus had even left the Washington, D.C. border.
Since 2005, Emancipation Day has been an official city holiday in the District of Columbia.
The April 15 Washington Post has an interesting article addressing the differences among the Emancipation Memorial at Lincoln Park and the African American Civil War Memorial around three miles away, including the controversy surrounding a freed slave kneeling by President Lincoln in a statue — paid for by freed slaves — at Lincoln Park, where I previously practiced taijiquan severa times on Saturday mornings before switching to my teacher Julian Chu, for his classes and practice sessions in Rockville, Maryland, and in Carderock Park during the summer.
The emancipation of slaves was an essential and major development that came much too late as it stands. In the District of Columbia, taxation without federal legislative representation continues, and must be reversed.