Jubilee 1864

Among African Americans, Jubilee means “Freedom” and “Celebration.” The end of slavery was not an event, it was a process, and throughout this historic commemoration we recognize Maryland’s abolishment of slavery.

As history notes, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. This war measure proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the 10 states that were still in rebellion during the Civil War. However, for the other states, abolition was not immediate. Instead, gradual emancipation laws set deadlines by which all slaves would be freed, releasing individuals as they reached a certain age or the end of a certain work period. This situation left some African Americans lingering in bonded servitude. But, on November 1, 1864, Maryland amended its constitution and became the first state to free it slaves by popular vote, which was more than a year before slavery would be abolished nationwide with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

November 1, 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of Maryland’s abolishment of slavery. And, in honor of this historic event, there are many celebrations of Maryland’s Emancipation Day taking place across the state. For more information on events, festivals and exhibits, visit

Special Event:
Join us on November 1, 2014 for the Legends & Legacies Heritage Bus Tour. This special commemoration event is an immersive experience featuring Baltimore’s three signature African-American Museums: The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, and the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum. Enjoy rich history, costumed characters and a special "shoe box lunch.” Please note that bus tour seating is limited. For more information on the Legends & Legacies Heritage Bus Tour and to reserve your space, call 410-244-8861.


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