The original Emancipation Proclamation is making its one and only 150th anniversary tour stop, at the Tennessee State Museum, beginning on the signer’s birthday Tuesday.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation in 1863 to “forever free” all slaves in the Confederate states that were fighting against the Union states, the Associated Press reports. The proclamation, contrary to what some believe, did not free all slaves — only those in Southern Rebel states. Further, it wasn’t even immediately enforceable, as the territories it covered were under Confederate control, AP said. But it did send a message the president was moving toward a slave-free nation once the Civil War ended, AP reports.
“Tennessee was an incredibly important state during the Civil War,” said Bruce Bustard, a senior curator at the National Archives, where the proclamation is stored, in the AP report. “There were more battles in Tennessee than any other state in the Union except for Virginia.”
So far, the museum has taken 18,000 reservations for viewing, AP reports.