This fall is turning out to be a time for remembering Abraham Lincoln, a man who is often described as our most important president. President Obama has been quoting Lincoln recently, a new biographical film by director Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis is set to open in November. And the New York State Education Department has a traveling exhibition marking the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
Many scholars describe Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as a transformative moment in US history.
The exhibition, “The First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation," has begun a tour to eight New York cities. And it will be coming to the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo on Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, and to the Rochester Museum and Science Center on Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28.
The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is on loan from the National Archives. The official document wasn’t created and the law was not fully enforced until after Lincoln’s handwritten draft was transcribed, affixed with the seal of the United States, and signed by Lincoln, the State Education Department says.
The Preliminary Proclamation was created during the bloody turmoil of the Civil War, and is the only surviving version in Lincoln’s handwriting. The final handwritten version of the document was lost in a fire in Chicago in 1871.