155th anniversary of Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to be recognized Dec. 31, 2018

155th anniversary of Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to be recognized Dec. 31, 2018

Retired Naval Commander Owen Corpin has once again arranged the annual Watch Night in Peterboro Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, to commemorate the wait Dec. 31, 1862, through the night to see if President Abraham Lincoln would release the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863.

According to The First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the exhibit of the Proclamation organized by the Board of Regents, state Education Department, that toured the state in 2013: “On September 22, 1862, following the Union victory at Antietam, President Lincoln issued this document, ordering that in 100 days the federal government would deem all slaves free in those states still rebelling against the Union. The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is the only surviving Proclamation document in Lincoln’s own hand. 

In 1864, Lincoln donated the document to the U.S. Sanitary Commission, which raffled it off at the Albany Relief Bazaar to help raise money for the Union war effort. Abolitionist Gerrit Smith won the raffle after buying 1,000 tickets at $1 apiece. Smith then sold the document to the state Legislature, with funds going to the Sanitary Commission. The legislature, in turn, deposited the document in the New York State Library, where it remains today.

Corpin, a native of Peterboro, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1974 and served around the world in many locations on many vessels, including the Forrestal, Kennedy and Saratoga aircraft carriers, for 20 years as an aviator. Owen recounts his service in dramatic fashion and
usually does so at Watch Night.

The public is encouraged to join the 155 th anniversary of the Proclamation.  The free program begins at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 31, at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro, at which time a copy of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation from the New York State Museum will be on exhibit.

A light lunch will be shared at noon with brief introductory programs on the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, watch nights and proclamations. The watch fire will then be ignited on the Green, where the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation will be read.

Proclamation copies will be provided. Admission is free. For more information, call 315.280.8828 or email nahofm1835@gmail.com .

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