Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to be Exhibited at Tilles Center at LIU Post Only Location on Long Island to Display Traveling Exhibit
New York State Education Department
Brookville, N.Y. – In a rare public exhibit, one of the nation's greatest documentary treasures – President Abraham Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation – will be on display at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, 720 Northern Boulevard, Brookville, New York on Monday, October 15 and Tuesday, October 16.
The draft document banishing slavery in America was written in Abraham Lincoln's own handwriting in 1863. It will be on display along with the Emancipation Proclamation Centennial Commemoration Speech written and delivered in 1962 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The public may view the documents from 1 to 9 p.m. on both days. School groups, by reservation, will receive guided tours from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. This is the only Long Island location to host the exhibit, titled "First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation." Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
"Although it is difficult to quantify with precision, the Emancipation Proclamation probably freed about 200,000 slaves," writes Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer for the New York State Museum. "By a stroke of his pen, Lincoln had managed by executive order to launch a second American Revolution. He not only ended the national shame of human bondage in America, but helped guarantee the survival of American democracy itself."
Lincoln's manuscript for the January 1, 1863 proclamation was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 making this handwritten preliminary proclamation the only copy in his hand to survive the 150-year interval since it was written. It was purchased by the NYS Legislature on April 28, 1865, three days after Lincoln's funeral train passed through Albany.
The manuscript is only shown on rare occasions -- most notably in a 1950-51 'Freedom Train" tour -- and is housed in a double chamber case which is flooded with nitrogen gas to stabilize temperature and humidity. This viewing at LIU Post will be mounted as part of a rare multi-city display across New York State to mark the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Martin Luther King Jr. manuscript dates to a speech he presented at the New York Civil War Centennial Commission's Emancipation Proclamation Observance, New York City, September 12, 1962. While acknowledging that the nation still had a long way to go to ensure full civil rights to all its people, he declared that day that Lincoln's Proclamation, along with the original Declaration of Independence, constituted America's greatest gift to the world.
"LIU Post and Tilles Center for the Performing Arts are pleased and honored to join with the New York State Education Department and SUNY College of Old Westbury in presenting these national treasures to the community," said Dr. Paul Forestell, provost of LIU Post. "The abolition of slavery transformed our country. To be given the opportunity to see the very pieces of paper that Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. touched is a powerful experience."
The exhibition is made possible by the New York State Education Department and is being offered in partnership with LIU Post, LIU Votes, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, and SUNY College at Old Westbury.
LIU Post (formerly known as the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University) is located at 720 Northern Boulevard, Brookville, NY, 11548-1300. For school group booking information, call 516-299-2752 by September 20, 2012. Visit www.liu.edu/post/freedom for more information or call 516-299-3500.
Return to Press Releases