A House Divided: A City Transformed
Slavery in the Capital City
Although the Compromise of 1850 had banned the slave trade in the District of Columbia, those already enslaved remained so. By 1860 there were just over 3,000 slaves in Washington. Several Jews owned slaves.
On April 16, 1862, nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln signed The District of Columbia Emancipation Act, freeing all slaves in the city.