A draft of Abraham Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation – an important precursor to his official 1863 proclamation of freedom for more than 3 million slaves – will be on view at the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.) today and Saturday.
The document, in Lincoln’s own handwriting, set the stage for a turning point in American history. It is part of a touring exhibition organized by the New York State Museum to mark the sesquicentennial of its release and to provide context for the monumental decision that changed the course of the Civil War. The exhibition also includes the manuscript of a speech delivered in New York City in 1962 by Martin Luther King Jr. on the occasion of the final proclamation’s centennial, along with prints of photographs and paintings that tell the story of the proclamation’s place and time. Both documents are part of the collection of the New York State Library.
The two-day Burchfield Penney exhibition is part of an eight-city tour that will take it to Long Island, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Binghamton and Albany.
– Colin Dabkowski