Black History: Special Delivery!!

easter monday 2
Easter Monday Celebration 1936


For residents of Washington DC, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll is a long standing tradition that dates back to 1878. The Easter Egg Roll celebrates the Easter holiday with an Easter Egg hunt on the White House lawn. However, at its inception, African Americans were not permitted to participate. In 1891, the National Zoo, instituted Easter Monday. On Easter Monday, Washington DC’s African American residents dressed up in their Easter finery and visited the National Zoo.

There, they had their own Easter Egg Roll, a picnic and visited zoo attractions. Oral traditions handed down over the years suggest that many blacks at the time served as domestics, and as such, had to work on Easter Sunday. It was not until the 1950’s that blacks were officially invited to participate in the official White House Easter Egg Roll. Easter Monday is still celebrated at the National Zoo today. In the past, some residents have denounced the celebration; feeling that it being held at a zoo was a sign of disrespect. While others feel as though the long standing tradition provided a day of celebration and fellowship. The Easter Monday celebration took place for decades before blacks were officially invited to participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll celebration. Even though the White House Easter Egg Roll is now open to all DC residents, Easter Monday still draws large crowds to the National Zoo. It is now a multicultural celebration celebrated by many Washington DC natives. For 2016, Easter Monday will be celebrated on Monday March 28th.

Visit the National Zoo website for more info about the 2016 event.


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