National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
Celebration of Freedom
On MLK Day, President Obama Posts Emancipation Proclamation in Oval Office
January 18, 2010 6:34 PM
by a small group of African American seniors, their grandchildren and some
children from the local area, President Obama announced today that he was
hanging a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, on loan from the
The copy will be exhibited for six months before being moved to the Lincoln Bedroom where the original Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.
When the Smithsonian lent the bust of King to the President Bill Clinton's White House in 2000 to be displayed in the White House Library, that marked, believe it or not, the very first time that the image of an African-American was displayed in a public space in the White House.
"I think sometimes in celebration of Dr. King's birthday we act as if this history was so long ago," the president said today, "And the reason we brought together some elders and some young people very briefly was not just to visit the Oval Office and see the Emancipation Proclamation, which is going to be on loan to us, but it's also just to remind us that there were some extraordinarily courageous young people like Dr. Dorothy Height, like Mrs. Eleanor Banks and Romaine Thomas and her husband, and others who were actively involved in bringing about one of the great moments in United States history."
"Dr. Height has shared with us what it was like meeting Martin Luther King when he was a 15-year-old at Morehouse, visiting there," the president continued. "We heard from Ms. Glanton, Willie Glanton, who is a great activist in Iowa, about the work that she's done there on behalf of the civil rights movement, reminding us that it wasn't just isolated in some areas.
"I am especially proud to have the
The Emancipation Proclamation
was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. it declared
"that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states
"are, and henceforward shall be free" -- but significantly, though
its moral symbolism would come to mean more, the proclamation applied only to
states that had seceded from the Union, meaning it didn't impact slavery in