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5 Fun Facts About December 31 In District Of Columbia History

---Learn Every Day: DC Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history dc To: 618-270-4005---

1. End of Slavery: On December 31, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves in Confederate-held territories were free. This landmark document went into effect on January 1, 1863.

2. Prohibition Ends: On December 31, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ended the era of Prohibition, which had banned the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages since 1920. Residents of the District of Columbia celebrated the end of Prohibition by toasting with their favorite drinks.

3. Metro Opens: On December 31, 1976, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority opened the first stretch of its metro system, running from Rhode Island Avenue to Farragut North. The initial line had just five stations, but it set the foundation for one of the largest metro systems in the world.

4. Mayor Barry Arrested: On December 31, 1990, Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was arrested on charges of possession of cocaine. The arrest gained national attention and led to a high-profile trial in which Barry was convicted on one count of misdemeanor drug possession.

5. Last Government Shutdown: On December 31, 1995, the federal government shutdown for the second time in less than a month. The shutdown lasted for 21 days, leading to the furlough of nearly 800,000 government employees. It was the last time the government shutdown until 2018.
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