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On April 14, Centric, in partnership with the Office of Cable Television, celebrates the freeing of slaves in Washington, DC with the DC Emancipation Day 150th Anniversary Great Debate. Nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln freed the enslaved workers and laborers of DC making them the first freed by the federal government.
In 1858 there was a seven debate series between Republican Senate nominee Abraham Lincoln and Democratic Senate nominee Stephen Douglas dealing with many issues Lincoln would face as President. The main issue discussed throughout the series was slavery and brought forth Lincoln’s famous quote "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half-slave and half-free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other."
The DC Emancipation Day 150th Anniversary Great Debate will address key matters affecting African Americans today. The economy, unemployment, health care, education and the upcoming Presidential election may all be covered in the 90 minute program. There will be four panelists (confirmed to date are Georgetown University professor/author Michael Eric Dyson and minister/civil rights activist/radio & television host Reverend Al Sharpton). BET News’ TJ Holmes will moderate the session where each panelist will have ten minutes to state their position on a topic and five minutes will be allocated for rebuttals.
The DC Emancipation Day 150th Anniversary Great Debate will be held at the historic Lincoln Theatre located in the urban cultural U Street corridor. The Office of Cable Television will live stream the event on their website and a feed will be available to BET.com/Centrictv.com to live stream as well. Centric will edit down the debate into an hour show to broadcast at a later date.