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‘Emancipation Commemoration’ set for Sept. 7

The public is invited to an “Emancipation Commemoration” on Saturday, September 7, to remember Robert Carter III’s 1791 Deed of Manumission, and to honor the lives of those set free.

In September 1791, Robert Carter III of Nomini Hall in Westmoreland County issued a deed of manumission to free his nearly 500 slaves. This was the largest single act of slave liberation in American history prior to Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued by President Abraham Lincoln more than 70 years later in 1863.

This year’s annual commemoration includes presentations by local historians, the Church of Deliverance choir, and nationally-acclaimed musicians and folklorists Sparky and Rhonda Rucker. The event takes place from 10 a.m.-noon at Historic Christ Church in Weems and is co-hosted by the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society, Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, and Foundation for Historic Christ Church. Admission is free, but donations are requested to cover event costs.

According to Karen Hart, executive director of the Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, Robert Carter III of Nomini Hall was born into the highest circles of Virginia’s Colonial aristocracy. He was the grandson of Robert “King” Carter, neighbor and kin to the Washingtons and Lees, and friend and peer to Thomas Jefferson and George Mason. Carter was one of the wealthiest men in America in the Revolutionary era, owning tens of thousands of acres of land, factories, ironworks, and hundreds of slaves. Yet in 1791, at a time when the nation’s leaders were debating the contradiction of slavery in a newly-independent nation, Carter undertook a remarkable act to free his slaves.

For more information, call 438-6855 or visit

posted 08.28.2013

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