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Emancipation Proclamation

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as an executive order on January 1, 1863, after the Confederate States of America did not respond to an ultimatum that they rejoin the Union. While stating that all slaves in ten rebellion states were free, it did not outlaw slavery, compensate the owners for their “property” or make the slaves citizens. It was not until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865 that slavery was outlawed, but the Emancipation Proclamation gave the Union troops the authority to free slaves in areas they occupied. On May 17, 1962, Dr. King delivered to the White House a document calling upon President Kennedy to mark the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation by signing an executive order outlawing segregation. That document is in this archive.

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