Rare Opportunity to View Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in Raleigh

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most significant documents in United States history. Pres. Abraham Lincoln issued the document on Sept. 22, 1862, after the Union victory at Antietam (also called the Battle of Sharpsburg).

Signed by Pres. Lincoln, the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation ordered that in 100 days the federal government would free all slaves in the states still rebelling against the Union. The document formally alerted the Confederacy of Lincoln’s intention. On Jan. 1, 1863, with the Confederacy still in full rebellion, the president issued the final Emancipation Proclamation.

You will have a rare opportunity to see the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh from Wednesday, May 15, through Sunday, June 16, 2013. This historical seven-page document is on loan from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Admission is free.

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation will be featured in the exhibit Freedom Coming, Freedom for All, which is being presented by the North Carolina Freedom Monument Park and the North Carolina Museum of History. The exhibit follows a timeline of events focusing on the status of North Carolina before the Civil War, events leading up to Lincoln’s issuance of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and outcomes and results of the document in the state and nation. Freedom Coming also examines the differences between the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the final Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment.

“We are honored to join with North Carolina Freedom Monument Park to present this exhibit, which is especially relevant during the sesquicentennial of the 1863 signing of the final Emancipation Proclamation,” emphasizes Museum Director Ken Howard. “We are grateful to the National Archives for entrusting this document to us to share with others.”

Adds Dianne Pledger, Executive Director of North Carolina Freedom Monument Park, “What we will achieve through this partnership is an exploration of the deeper ramifications of the Emancipation Proclamation and its influence on society in subsequent years. By doing so, we hope to increase historical awareness and civic engagement about the importance of freedom for all people. The Emancipation Proclamation is a reminder of our ongoing obligation to learn our history because it reminds us of our mistakes and successes.”

Freedom Coming will be complemented by educational resources and programs, including a two-day symposium on May 31 and June 1. After the exhibit closes and the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation returns to National Archives, a traveling version of Freedom Coming, comprised of 14 informational panels, will be available for museums, historic sites, and other organizations across North Carolina.

Major sponsors of Freedom Coming are the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company; Mechanics and Farmers Bank, Spectacular Magazine; and the News & Observer. Additional support is provided by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and the State Archives of North Carolina.

All photography and filming in the exhibit must be done with available light.

For more information about the N.C. Museum of History, call (919) 807-7900, access the museum’s website  or connect with the museum on Facebook and Twitter. The N.C. Museum of History is a unit of N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more information on North Carolina arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.