This Week: Capitol ceremony hails 'Great Emancipator'

Published: Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 - 2:45 pm

Capitol ceremony hails 'Great Emancipator'

Abraham Lincoln, poignantly portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis, is a star of the silver screen today and two new history books about him are currently on the New York Times' best-sellers list.

One of the reasons Lincoln remains a transcendent figure in U.S. history is an action he took exactly 150 years ago Tuesday: He signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The California Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association is holding a free celebration of the document's Jan. 1, 1863, signing at the Capitol at noon today.

While the Emancipation Proclamation is most widely known as the presidential order that freed the slaves, historians note that it resulted in the liberation of relatively few slaves.

The order applied only to slaves in states that were actively rebelling against the Union in the Civil War, and not to slaves in so-called "border states," such as Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri.

Still, the proclamation's signing rang the death knell for slavery in the United States and led to the adoption of the 13th Amendment, which formally abolished slavery in America.

– Ken Chavez

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