140th Year Anniversary Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation

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140th Year Anniversary Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation
140th Logo.jpg
Official name 140th Year Anniversary Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation
Observed by People of the United States
Type Secular
Begins January 1, 2003
Ends December 31, 2003
Duration 1 year
Frequency once
Related to Emancipation Proclamation
Slavery in the United States

The 140th Year Anniversary Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation was a national campaign to honor, celebrate, and commemorate January 1, 2003, as the 140th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863,[1] by United States President Abraham Lincoln.


This historical commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation came,[2] shortly after September 11, 2001, as a venue for national celebration. The 140th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation celebrates the progression of the United States, and was reminiscent of a similar period in American history, following the Civil War.[3] As momentum for the anniversary celebration grew, Americans joined in to participate across the United States.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Sam Waterston, best known from the Law and Order television program, organized volunteers to clean, paint, and restore Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldier's Home[11] in Washington, D.C., for this milestone anniversary.[12]

The first reading of the proclamation in The South occurred at the Emancipation Oak located on the campus of Hampton University in what is now the city of Hampton, Virginia. This is the same site where Mary Smith Peake had earlier taught children of former slaves under the same tree.[13] The Emancipation Oak, a National Historical Landmark, was itself a catalyst for the 140th anniversary celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation. Subsequently, in 2004, the oak was named America's national tree.[14]

The nearby city of Newport News, Virginia held a First Reading anniversary celebration consisting of a presentational reading of the Emancipation Proclamation with living historians portraying slaves to emphasize the meaning of President Lincoln's historic act of universal manumission.[15] The event was held in the Newport News City Council chambers, and included a resolution issued by the city's mayor, Joe Frank, as to the significance of the celebratory year.

The Network to Freedom website, honoring the Underground Railroad, was launched by the United States National Park Service to coincide with the 140th anniversary.[16]

Legislative resolution[edit]

Early bipartisan congressional supporters of the 140th Year Anniversary Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation were Danny K. Davis (Dem. IL) who sponsored the legislation in the United States House of Representatives as House Concurrent Resolution 36.[17] The legislation was sponsored in the United States Senate by Senator George Allen (Rep. VA), as Senate Concurrent Resolution 15.[18]


The text of the final resolution reads as follows:

The bill passed in both houses of the United States Congress by unanimous vote.[17][18]


  1. ^ "Featured Document: The Emancipation Proclamation". Archives.gov. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  2. ^ New Journal and Guide, November 13, 2002, By Rev. Marcellus Harris, First Baptist Church Morrison, Newport News, Virginia
  3. ^ "America's reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War". Digitalhistory.uh.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-11. , Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Historical Society, Carolina State Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Museum of Florida History, Museum of the New South, Chicago Historical Society
  4. ^ "NY PIX Morning News Blog – WPIX-TV WPIX-TV (Channel 11)". New York: Weblogs.wpix.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  5. ^ 140th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation / Slavery's lingering legacy, William B. Gould IV, SFGate.com, 1 January 2003
  6. ^ "News At Old Dominion University Statement Issued In Observance Of Emancipation Proclamation Anniversary". Odu.edu. 2003-09-22. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  7. ^ "News Jan-Feb 2003 Illinois Periodicals Online". Lib.niu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  8. ^ Tavis Smiley (2003-01-31). "Profile: Emancipation Proclamation". NPR. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  9. ^ "National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom". PR Newswire. 2002-12-10. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  10. ^ "Bill Tracking - 2003 session > Legislation". Leg6.state.va.us. Retrieved 2010-10-11.  Virginia General Assembly, House Joint Resolution 772 recognition of the 140th year anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation
  11. ^ "President Lincoln's Cottage". Lincolncottage.org. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  12. ^ Sam Waterston, Chris Epting (2004-05-05), Preserving America's Past, Studio10, retrieved 2010-10-11 
  13. ^ Rev. Lewis C. Lockwood (2009), Mary S. Peake: The Colored Teacher at Fortress Monroe, Dodo Press, ISBN 978-1-4099-7258-7 
  14. ^ "Press Releases - The Arbor Day Foundation". Arborday.org. 2004-12-15. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  15. ^ Weather Delays Public Reading Of Proclamation, Daily Press, 17 January 2003, retrieved 2010-10-11 
  16. ^ "National Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom". National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  17. ^ a b "108th Congress: Bill H CON RES 36 Congressional votes database". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  18. ^ a b A concurrent resolution commemorating the 140th anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.S.CON.RES.15. 108th Congress (2003 - 2004). (Retrieved 2010-10-09.)

External links[edit]