January 12, 2004
Press Preview for National Archives Display of Emancipation Proclamation
WHAT: Opportunity to photograph the special, one day only, display of the original Emancipation Proclamation before it opens to the public on Monday, January 19, 2004. Emancipation Proclamation expert Dr. Walter Hill will be available for interviews.
WHEN: Monday, January 19, 2004, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: National Archives Building, West Gallery The media should use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC.
PLEASE NOTE: NO ARTIFICIAL LIGHT MAY BE USED ON THE DOCUMENT.
BACKGROUND: President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War, formally proclaiming the freedom of all slaves held in areas still in revolt. The issuance of this Proclamation clarified and strengthened the position of the Union government, decreased the likelihood of European support of the Confederacy and, as the Union armies extended their occupation of the southern states, brought freedom to the slaves in those states. The Proclamation invited black men to join the Union Army and Navy, resulting in the enlistment of approximately 200,000 freed slaves and free black people before the War's end.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it placed the issue squarely on top of the wartime agenda. It added moral force to the Union cause and was a significant milestone leading to the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, formally outlawing slavery throughout the nation.
The Emancipation Proclamation linked the preservation of American constitutional government to the end of slavery and has come to take its place with the great documents of freedom.
For PRESS information contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 301-837-1700.