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Emancipation Proclamation: 150th Anniversary Jan. 1 2013

Emancipation Proclamation: 150th Anniversary Jan. 1 2013

New Year’s Day 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation freeing all slaves within the U.S.’ rebellious states on January 1, 1863, during the third year of America’s Civil War. This did several things aside from the obvious:

  • Navy and Army: It allowed free black men to join the Union Army and Navy. By the end of the Civil War, 200,000 black men fought for the Union and helped to liberate unfreed slaves.
  • War Purpose: For many, it meant the purpose of the Civil War was about more than the division of the country, but was also about freedom. It actually strengthened the Union.

The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves in the U.S., however. Note the “rebellious states” wording.

  • Exemptions:
      ♦The Emancipation Proclamation exempted parts of the Confederacy that were already under Union control.
      ♦It only applied to states that had seceded from the Union.
  • Condition: The Emancipation Proclamation only promised slaves’ freedom under Union military victory.

The information above is obtained from the National Archives’ Emancipation Proclamation page at

Emancipation Proclamation’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations

Washington, D.C.

You can view the original Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives until 5 pm, January 1, 2013. For more information, click here to view the National Archives’ press release:

New York City

You can view photographs of enslaved and free people from before and after the civil war in the New York Public Library’s Visualizing Emancipation exhibit through March 16, 2013 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located on the corner of W 135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem. For details, click here:

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Emancipation Proclamation: 150th Anniversary Jan. 1 2013 by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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