The 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and
African American Military Service in the Civil War:
A Public Symposium
May 2-4, 2013
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 4, 2013 – In commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and of the first black Civil War troops from the North, several Greater Boston educational, historical, and cultural organizations are collaborating to present Freedom Rising: The 150th Anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation and African American Military Service in the Civil War from May 2 through 4, 2013.
Freedom Rising takes place throughout Greater Boston with lectures by Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian Eric Foner and others, a Symposium focusing on the hemispheric impact of the Emancipation Proclamation, and Roots of Liberty, a performance with special guests actor Danny Glover, scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and author Edwidge Danticat exploring the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the antislavery movement and the Civil War. All events are free and open to the public.
The second founding of the United States took place in the midst of the great sacrifice and destruction of the American Civil War. Before the war, slavery was protected by the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that no African American possessed any right that white men were bound to respect. During the war, blacks served in the armed forces with distinction, making a Union victory possible. After the war, slavery was extinguished and black men gained the right to vote—key to full citizenship—and many won election to state legislatures in the North and South and to both houses of Congress. The key document of this transformation is the Emancipation Proclamation.
Freedom Rising coincides with exhibitions at Harvard University's Houghton Library at the Museum of African American History.