Press Preview for Display of the Emancipation Proclamation
Press Release · Thursday, February 5, 2009

Media Alert
February 5, 2009

Press Preview for National Archives Display of the Emancipation Proclamation

Special 5-Day Only Display in Celebration of the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s Birth

More Information

WHAT: The only opportunity to videotape/photograph the special display of the original Emancipation Proclamation before it opens to the public for a limited five-day display, February 12-16. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus will be present at the press preview.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 12, 2009, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (Media preset begins at 9:15 a.m.)

WHERE:  East Rotunda Gallery,
National Archives Building
Constitution Avenue, Between 7th and 9th Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20408

Note: The media should use the Special Events Entrance between 7th and 9th Streets.

WHO: Reginald Washington, National Archives senior archivist and African-American records specialist, will be available for interviews.

Please Note: No Artificial Light May Be Used On The Document.

The document will be on public display Thursday, February 12, through Monday, February 16. Special extended exhibit hours 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.  The public should use the Constitution Avenue entrance between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.

For information on related Lincoln Bicentennial programs and exhibits at the National Archives, view the Calender of Events online, or call: (202) 357-5000.


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 become one of our country’s most treasured documents.

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For Press information:
Contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.


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