Listen: The Pearl

This map was never drawn. It had to be memorized. It led the way through early Washington City, where buildings we all know — like the Capitol and the Smithsonian "castle" — were only halfway built. The map led to freedom, to a schooner called The Pearl. It was the escape plan of slaves. Anacostia Unmapped contributor John Johnson has the story.

Photo: "Male adult slave escaping by way of a river" via The New York Public Library Digital Collections

Listen: The Hidden Cost Of Emancipation

Elizabeth Berkeley and Sadie Thompson at a convention of former slaves in 1916 in D.C.

The whispers started and grew until the word "freedom" was loud in thousands of slaves' mouths. It was April 16, 1862. The president signed a paper, and 3,100 D.C. slaves were freed — Emancipation Day. Many African-Americans in this city see it as the start of a new life for their ancestors. But emancipation didn't immediately end the role of slave traders in the city. Anacostia Unmapped contributor John Johnson explains how a historic day also came with a "punch in the gut."

And also in this edition of Anacostia Unmapped, we hear the voice of Fountain Hughes — a slave in nearby Virginia who recorded an interview with the Library of Congress in 1949. It's of the few surviving audio interviews of ex-slaves.