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Emancipation Proclamation will be displayed at National Archives Feb. 15-17

National Archives will display Emancipation Proclamation Feb. 15-17 for its new "Records of Rights" exhibit and Black History Month
National Archives, Washington, D.C.

The original Emancipation Proclamation will be displayed at the National Archives Feb. 15-17 to celebrate its new "Records of Rights" exhibit and Black History Month, the Archives announced today.

The special display, in the David M. Rubenstein “Records of Rights” permanent exhibit, will have related programs throughout the month. The display, exhibit, and programs are free.

The Emancipation Proclamation is shown only for a limited time each year because of its fragility.

For its 150th anniversary Jan. 1, 2013, the Archives displayed it for three days.

The Emancipation Proclamation, "a milestone along the road to slavery’s final destruction, has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom," the Archives notes.

The National Archives last December opened the David M. Rubenstein Gallery and its "Records of Rights" exhibit that vividly bring to life the past and ever-present struggles of African Americans, women, and immigrants.

Related programs for Black History Month

Book signings will follow each book talk.

Feb. 5, at 7 P.M., William G. McGowan Theater

This documentary traces the life of "The Greatest", from joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay to Muhammad Ali, to his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War, and his Supreme Court battle (Clay v. U.S.) that unanimously overturned his conviction for draft evasion.

The film's director, Bill Siegel, will introduce his Muhammad Ali documentary and answer questions.

Feb. 12, at 7 P.M., William G. McGowan Theater

"The Gettysburg Story" (2013) uses aerial cinematography, motion-control time lapse, and 3-D animated maps to tell the stories of President Lincoln, General Robert E. Lee, General George G. Meade, and others in the battle that was the Civil War's turning point.

The July 1-3, 1863 battle, the war's bloodiest, caused 51,000 casualties. It is the largest ever fought in North America, according to the Gettysburg Foundation.

The film is narrated by Stephen Lang, best known as Colonel Quaritch in James Cameron's "Avatar", and known also by Civil War buffs as "SLang" for his roles as General Pickett in "Gettysburg" and as Stonewall Jackson in "Gods and Generals".

The program includes a screening of "The Wheatfield" (2013), a short film written and performed by Lang, about the Battle of Gettysburg as related by an aged Union soldier.

  • "The Dawn of Freedom: Researching of Records of the Freedmen’s Bureau"

Feb 13, at 11 A.M., Jefferson Conference Room

Retired archivist Reginald Washington discusses the importance, availability, and research strategies of the Freedmen's Bureau records for African American genealogical research.

  • "Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons"

Feb. 19, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater

The lives of "maroons" -- people who escaped from slavery and made the Southern wilderness their home, will be discussed by Sylviane Diouf, a curator at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. They lived alone or in communities, and hid in the mountains of Virginia and the low swamps of South Carolina. Diouf discusses how the American maroons reinvented themselves, defied slave society, and enforced their own definition of freedom. A book signing follows the program.

Emancipation Proclamation eBook (Free)

The National Archives' "The Meaning and Making of Emancipation" eBook places the Emancipation Proclamation in its social and political context by presenting related documents from the National Archives' holdings. This eBook is available for free for multiple devices through the following:

The National Archives notes, "Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it placed the issue squarely on top of the wartime agenda. It added moral force to the Union cause and was a significant milestone leading to the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, formally outlawing slavery throughout the nation. The Emancipation Proclamation linked the preservation of American constitutional government to the end of slavery, and is one of our country’s most treasured documents."

For more info: National Archives,, on the National Mall, Constitution Avenue and 9th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 202-357-5000, or

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