D.C. Emancipation Day Parade 2012 (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON -- As temperatures went into the mid 80s on Monday, many District of Columbia residents gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing legislation that freed slaves living in the nation's capital -- nearly nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.

While the D.C. government and public schools were officially closed, many headed downtown to watch Monday's Emancipation Day parade, which started at 11 a.m. at 3rd Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue and ended at Freedom Plaza in front of the John A. Wilson Building.

Mayor Vincent Gray also celebrated, while noting the D.C.'s continued struggle for statehood during an Emancipation Day prayer breakfast at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, the site where Julia Ward Howe famously penned the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

The roads along the parade route were reopened after 3 p.m. to normal traffic. But tonight, a fireworks display will close 12th Street NW between E Street and Constitution Avenue from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Here are some scenes from today's parade.

2012 DC Emancipation Parade