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Emancipation Day in the United States

Residents of Ohio commemorate the abolishment of slavery on Emancipation Day, which falls on September 22. Some other states have similar celebrations, but they fall on different dates.

The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.
The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.

What Do People Do?

Emancipation Day has been observed annually since 1863 in Gallia County in south-eastern Ohio, so this celebration is most widely known and usually attracts more than 2000 visitors from Ohio and the rest of the United States. Today's celebration includes concerts, historic re-enactments, food and a wide range of other activities.

Public Life

Emancipation Day is not a public holiday in Ohio, but it is a state-wide observation. Offices, banks, businesses and schools are normally open, although this may vary in some cases.


On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation, which required all states to abandon slavery within 100 days. It declared all slaves “thenceforth and forever more free”. The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.

The abolishment of slavery in the United States is celebrated on different dates in other parts of the country. For example, Texas commomorates the liberation of the last remaining slaves on Juneteenth, while residents of Washington DC celebrate Emancipation Day on April 16 each year, remembering the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862.

Emancipation Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
WedSep 222010Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
ThuSep 222011Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
SatSep 222012Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
SunSep 222013Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
MonSep 222014Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
TueSep 222015Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
ThuSep 222016Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
FriSep 222017Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
SatSep 222018Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
SunSep 222019Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio
TueSep 222020Emancipation DayLocal observanceOhio

Quick Facts

Emancipation Day is a state-wide observation in Ohio on September 22.

Emancipation Day 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018 (local in Ohio)

Emancipation Day 2019

Sunday, September 22, 2019 (local in Ohio)


Name in other languages

Emancipation DayEnglish
Día de la EmancipaciónSpanish
يوم التحررHebrew
יום האמנציפציהArabic
해방의 날Korean
Slaveriets opphørNorwegian
Tag der Sklavenbefreiung (Emancipation Day)German

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in September 2018 in the United States

Fun Holiday on September 22, 2018

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