By Justin Sink
The committee indicated that a tribute to African-Americans could play a role in the ceremony, noting that blacks began work on the Capitol Dome enslaved but finished the project as free laborers, thanks to the D.C. Emancipation Act enacted during the Civil War.
"The year 1863 was one of the most fateful in our nation’s history," the committee said in a statement. "It began with the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, and ended with a celebration of the new Capitol Dome crowned by the Statue of Freedom in December. It also was the year of the first homestead claim, the start of the first transcontinental railroad, the opening of the first land grant college, and President Lincoln’s historic and visionary Gettysburg Address."
The event's agenda is being coordinated by a special congressional committee, which includes much of the top leadership of both chambers. Appointed by the vice president and Speaker of the House, the group includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), along with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).