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Emancipation Proclamation



This palm-sized copy of the Emancipation Proclamation was created and issued to Union Army soldiers in 1862. They carried the pamphlet and read aloud the content, declaring freedom for Black people enslaved in the rebelling states. The executive order enabled African Americans to secure freedom at the Union Army lines and allowed Black men to enlist and fight for freedom. Its creation was a cause for celebration still observed today with New Year’s Eve Watch Night services held at Black churches and Emancipation Day parades. Yet, the Emancipation Proclamation provided an incomplete freedom, as enslaved African Americans in non-rebelling states legally remained in bondage.