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Thursday, February 12, 2009

THE Emancipation Proclamation at Archives

By the Queen of Free

For five days only beginning today on the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth

Despite the sign which said a 20 minute wait, it took less than that to reach the original document. The ink is quite faint. In the low lighting the approximate 75 visitors and those in the rotunda were subdued and of somber mood. Several security guards stood nearby.

At the line's entrance an attractively designed 8.5 x 11” four-page brochure in sepia tones with the complete text and brief explanation about the Proclamation is available at no charge.

The Proclamation, which Archives names one of the nation's most treasured documents, declared the freedom of all slaves in states which had seceded from the Union (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) but omitted its abolishment in the border states (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia). Exceptions were made for those portions of the Confederate states which were already under Union jurisdiction on January 1, 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The National Archives at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue is open special hours this weekend from 10 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. from Saturday through Monday for viewing the document which is only made public a few days each year.

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