We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



When the effects of eggnog and that warm fuzzy holiday feeling wear off, you can lay boxwood sprigs in a moment of reflection. Exactly two centuries ago, on the first day of the year, George Washington—who had been a slave master since age 11—posthumously released in his will 123 unpaid servants on the Mount Vernon estate. Suckey Bay was no longer required to labor on his farm. Davy Jones wasn’t responsible for the estate’s carpentry. And Caroline Branham was no longer forced to tend to Martha Washington’s bedside. On New Year’s Day, their descendants will pass out identification cards and share their ancestors’ stories to commemorate this bittersweet occasion: the 200th Anniversary of the Emancipation of Washington’s Slaves, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, George Washington Memorial Parkway and Route 235, Mount Vernon. Free. (703) 780-2000. (Ayesha Morris)