Exhibited at the NYS Library in 2010:
Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation
Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation was on display at the New York State Library between September 3 and October 14, 2010. The exhibit, which re-examined President Lincoln's thoughts about slavery, was set up in six panels that focused on:
- young Lincoln's America,
- the House dividing,
- war for the Union,
- the Emancipation Proclamation,
- the role of black soldiers in the Civil War, and
- the final months of the Civil War and Lincoln's life.
Included in the exhibition were rare documents and the latest research that that took viewers through Lincoln's journey to Emancipation: he was at first a cautious moderate who was willing to allow slavery to continue if it would help preserve the Union, but when this approach failed, he became determined that freeing the slaves immediately was necessary and thus issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
In conjunction with "Forever Free" exhibit, the State Library also displayed a selection of rare documents and images telling some of the history behind the manuscript Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which has been a part of the Library's collections since 1865. The documents on display tell how the rare manuscript was raffled off in 1864, at a "sanitary fair" in Albany, to raise money for medical care for Union soldiers.
On display were photographs of the sanitary fair, an actual raffle ticket and other rarities, as well as pamphlets, sheet music and cartoons depicting public reactions to the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Forever Free exhibit while on display on the seventh floor of the New York State Library in the fall of 2010.
From October 28 – December 10, 2010, Bethlehem Public Library also hosted this exhibit.
"Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation" has been organized by the Huntington Library and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in cooperation with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. This exhibition was made possible by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.