13th Amendment Celebration

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150th Anniversary of Ratification

President Barack Obama was welcomed on Capitol Hill by House Speaker Paul Ryan and several House and Senate Members to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. It became effective the moment it was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. Four million slaves became free.

The ceremony was held in the Capitol's Emancipation Hall of which Speaker Ryan said "…we are here in Emancipation Hall, this was named in honor of the enslaved workers who helped build the Capitol. I can think of no more fitting place to celebrate this great moment in American history."

President Obama said we "…commemorate a century and half of freedom not just for former slaves but for all."