As Americans rush to see the film “Lincoln”, the National Archives announced more public programs surrounding the special display of the Emancipation Proclamation for its 150th anniversary, from Dec. 30 through Jan. 1.
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Declaration on January 1, 1863, freeing slaves held in Confederate states. The original document is exhibited only for a short period “because of its fragility, which can be made worse by exposure to light, and the need to preserve it for future generations,” the National Archives explained.
Viewing schedule for the original Emancipation Proclamation:
- Sunday, December 30 — 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
- Monday, December 31 — 10 A.M. – midnight
- Tuesday, January 1, 2013 — 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
Watch Night Festivities, Monday, December 31
- 11:30 P.M. – Performance by Washington Revels Heritage Voices
- Midnight – Bell ringing by actress portraying Harriet Tubman, one of the best-known “conductors” on the “Underground Railroad”. The African-American abolitionist escorted an estimated 300 slaves from the South to freedom during some 20 trips within a decade.
Emancipation Proclamation Reading, Tuesday, January 1, at 9 A.M.
The first hundred guests in line at the main museum entrance at Constitution Avenue and 9th Street, NW, by 8:15 A.M. are invited to enter the building to hear a dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, musician, song talker, and scholar.
Family Day Programming, Tuesday, January 1, 11 A.M. – 2 P.M.
Hands-on family activities, and storyteller Bill Grimmest portrays the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass in “Tales of My Friend Mr. Lincoln”, and other historical re-enactors will portray Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and Rosa Parks, known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”.
The Archives has announced the following additional related programs in December and January. Book signings will follow each book talk:
“Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union”, Friday, December 14, at noon
Professor and author Louis P. Masur discusses the critical period between September 22, 1862, when Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and January 1, 1863, when he signed the final altered decree. During those hundred days, Lincoln struggled to lead a nation through a war as he debated with foes and worked to meet the expectations of millions of enslaved peoples.
“The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War”, Wednesday, December 19, at noon
Historian David Cecelski discusses the life of Abraham Galloway, an abolitionist and Union spy who rose from bondage to become one of the most significant black leaders in the South during the Civil War. Galloway led a delegation of black southerners to the White House to meet with President Lincoln and demand full rights of citizenship. This program is presented in partnership with the National Archives Afro-American History Society.
“Martin’s Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.”, Thursday, January 10, at noon
In his memoir, Dr. Clayborne Carson, editor of the King Papers, recounts his decades-long quest to preserve King’s great legacy, and reveals little-known aspects of Dr. King.
“Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery”, Friday, January 11, at noon
Historians Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer discuss the seismic impact of emancipation on African Americans born before and after the Emancipation Proclamation. They use photographs from the 1850s through the 1930s to show what freedom looked like for black Americans in the Civil War era.
“Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865”, Thursday, January 24, at 7 P.M.
A distinguished panel argues that for Lincoln and the Republicans in Congress, the two aims of restoring the Union and ending slavery were intertwined from the very start of the Civil War. Moderated by Annette Gordon Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Professor of Law and History at Harvard University, panelists include James McPherson, Professor of History Emeritus, Princeton University, and author of “Battle Cry of Freedom”; Eric Foner, Professor of History, Columbia University, and author of “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery”; Edward Ayers, President, University of Richmond, and author of “America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries”; and James Oaks, Professor of History, City University of New York, and author of “Freedom National”.
“A Declaration of Freedom: Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation and its Legacy of Liberty”, Wednesday, January 30, at noon
The National Archives Afro-American History Society presents a scholarly panel discussion on Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, its meaning to newly freed slaves, and the Proclamation’s legacy in American history. Panelists include Greg Carr, chair of the Afro-American Studies Department at Howard University; Kenvi Phillips, historian for the Black History Program of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and John O’Brien, Abraham Lincoln scholar.
As the National Archives noted, the Emancipation Proclamation “was limited in many ways. It applied only to States that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon military victory.”
The Proclamation also “clarified and strengthened the position of the Union government, decreased the likelihood of European support of the Confederacy and… 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,” the Archives added.
“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,” the Archives noted.
For more info: National Archives, www.archives.gov, East Rotunda Gallery, on the National Mall at Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 202-357-5000.