A rare signed copy of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate states goes on exhibit Friday for about a year at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
Lincoln issued the original proclamation in 1863, setting 3 million slaves free with the stroke of his pen.
When the Emancipation Proclamation was unveiled Thursday night, it was "breathtaking," especially in light of the South Carolina church massacre in which a white gunman is accused of gunning down 9 African Americans, said Michael Battle, executive vice president/provost at the Freedom Center.
"The circumstances in South Carolina are things that really grab the American core, it brings us together as a people and allows us to understand that at the end of the day, America is in fact one nation under God," he said.
The Freedom Center's director of museum experiences says 48 copies of the proclamation were produced by abolitionists Charles Leland and George Boker to raise funds for the Union Army in June 1864.
David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group, purchased one of the "authorized editions" of the document at auction in 2012. He has loaned it to the Freedom Center.
When the Emancipation Proclamation leaves the Freedom Center, it will go to its permanent home at the National Mall in Washington D.C., said Michael Battle
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