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It’s Official, Says D.C. Council: Today is ‘Garrison Day’

by Tim Regan June 10, 2016 at 10:05 am 0

(Updated at 12:03 p.m.) Garrison Elementary School students and their families have an extra reason to celebrate today.

The D.C. Council voted to pass a ceremonial resolution introduced by Councilmember Jack Evans earlier this week to officially designate June 10, 2016, as a day to honor the school and its namesake, abolitionist and journalist William Lloyd Garrison.

“The staff, parents, and neighbors of Garrison Elementary have created a fabulous and supportive community at the school that I was happy to recognize with a D.C. Council resolution,” Evans said in a statement to Borderstan. “Garrison Day was a huge success and will continue to be a wonderful tradition as we work to modernize and strengthen Garrison Elementary.”

The school at 1200 S St. NW holds a “Garrison Day” event each year with games, food and activities. “This has been an ongoing tradition at our school,” said Garrison PTO treasurer Ayako Sato.

Read a draft of the resolution below:

To recognize the contributions of William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) as an American journalistic crusader who helped lead the successful abolitionist campaign against slavery in the United States and serves as namesake to Garrison Elementary School, as well as to declare June 10, 2016  “Garrison Day” in the District of Columbia.

WHEREAS, the abolitionist movement in America in the early 1800’s was directed at abolishing the inhumane, unjust and cruel practice of slavery in America;

WHEREAS, William Lloyd Garrison was considered the most outspoken abolitionist in the country;

WHEREAS, Garrison helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society, the first abolitionist society to include both blacks and whites speaking out against slavery together, resulting in numerous chapters across the country and tens of thousands of members;

WHEREAS, Garrison published the first issue of the weekly newspaper The Liberator on January 1, 1831 which included the “Petition to Congress for the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia” boldly demanding the immediate freedom of all slaves in the District;

WHEREAS, The Liberator, hand-set one letter at a time and without financial resources, was published weekly for 35 years until slavery was officially abolished in America by the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865;

WHEREAS, after years of criticizing President Abraham Lincoln for his evolving stance on slavery, Garrison acted in the minority among his abolitionist peers to support Lincoln only after his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and was then instrumental in his successful re-election;

WHEREAS, while visiting Lincoln at the White House after his re-election, the President confided in Garrison his plans to introduce a Constitutional Amendment banning slavery forever;

WHEREAS, the grounds of the Garrison Elementary field were originally the site of Camp Barker, one of a few hundred “Contraband Camps” of formerly enslaved persons and was visited by President Lincoln;

WHEREAS, when the Union began forming regiments of “Colored Troops” in 1863, they recruited from the Contraband Camps including that on the Garrison Elementary site;

WHEREAS, Garrison also went to England and assisted the British abolitionists in bringing about the official banning of slavery in England and throughout the British Empire in 1833;

WHEREAS, Garrison Elementary School located at 1200 S Street, NW was proudly built and named after the renowned abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in 1964;

WHEREAS, Garrison Elementary celebrates “Garrison Day” on June 10th and strives to inform its student body about the rich legacy of its namesake and the important contributions of the site to the District of Columbia and the nation;

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited as the “Garrison Day Resolution of 2016”.

Sec. 2. The Council of the District of Columbia declares June 10, 2016 as “Garrison Day” in the District of Columbia.

Sec. 3. This resolution shall take effect immediately upon the first date of publication in the District of Columbia Register.

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