The Emancipation Proclamation was one the most important documents in American History. Thursday, the preliminary version of the document was on display in Binghamton as part of the First Step to Freedom exhibit at the Roberson Museum and Science Center. Our Melissa Kakareka was there as crowds of people and school children lined up to get a glimpse.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Visitors to the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton got a chance to step 150 years into the past on Thursday. Roberson is one of eight locations chosen by the New York State Museum to host an exhibit displaying Abraham Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
"It's contained always at the museum in Albany, but its not brought out very often so its really a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Roberson Museum and Science Center Executive Director Terry McDonald.
Lincoln's final handwritten Proclamation burned in the Chicago fire of 1871. This document is the only surviving version in Lincoln's own handwriting and also contains his signature and a thumbprint which is believed to be his.
"It's really cool to see it because I've never actually seen one of the presidents so to see something written by him its almost like seeing a president in person," said Vestal Hills Elementary 5th grade student Emilia Cappellett.
"Its very inspiring, to think you're that close to something that he had hand with," said Chenango Bridge resident Cassandra Higgins.
The exhibit also includes a manuscript of a speech written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the Proclamation's centennial in 1962.
"This Emancipation Proclamation really declares freedom, and what more important statement to make than Lincoln's proclamation that slaves be free in spite of the states that were against the union," said McDonald.
The documents will be on display at the Roberson Museum again on Friday.