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“I Have a Dream”: A 50th Year Testament to the March that Changed America by Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Dr. Rodney Sampson, Bob Adelman, Dr. Charles Steele, Damien Conners

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The Emancipation Proclamation

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The nation was about to enter its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

Despite the wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Also, the freedom it promised depended on Union military victory.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and ...

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