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April 6, 2009

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is Subject of May 1 Law Day Program

In celebration of Law Day on May 1, the Law Library of Congress will host a panel discussion examining Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, one of the most profound documents in U.S. history.

The 90-minute program will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 1, in the Members’ Room, located in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored with support from the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Advance reservations are required (202-707-9834, bmoo@loc.gov).

Originally thought to be radical and dangerous, the Emancipation Proclamation has been criticized for its timidity and limitations. Were African-Americans really free? Why were many counties in Louisiana and all of West Virginia exempted from the proclamation? What gave President Lincoln the insight and inspiration to change the reason for war from preserving the union to abolishing slavery and preserving the union?

A panel of distinguished thinkers will convene to discuss the document’s far-reaching effects and the man who penned it. Moderated by Kwame Holman, congressional correspondent for PBS’s NewsHour, the panel will include Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC); Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.); Kurt Schmoke, dean of the Howard University School of Law; and Roger Wilkins, professor emeritus, George Mason University. Some of the Library’s more unusual copies of the Emancipation Proclamation will be on display.

Law Day is a national day to celebrate the rule of law and its contributions to the freedoms that Americans enjoy. In 1957, the American Bar Association instituted Law Day to draw attention to both the principles and practices of law and justice. President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day with a proclamation in 1958. For more information on Law Day, visit www.lawday.org.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at myLOC.gov.

Founded in 1832, the mission of the Law Library is to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. Government and the global legal community, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.6 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its web site at www.loc.gov/law/.

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PR 09-069
04/06/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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