By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – To mark the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Urban League of Philadelphia showed off an original copy of the document during a special ceremony at the National Constitution Center Monday evening.
The event kicked off the 2013 National Urban League Conference.
The highlight of the ceremony was a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Reverend Marshall Mitchell of Salem Baptist Church in Jenkintown. The original copy was one of 48 made here in Philadelphia, signed by President Lincoln, and then sent to the states paving the way for the 13th Amendment. A number of local civic leaders were on hand for the ceremony, including Marc Morial, the President and CEO of the National Urban League, who says the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington in the 1960s will frame this year’s discussion.
“As we talk about this great nation, we talk about our history, and we try to talk about what we need for the future,” said Morial.
Dale Ogden is Senior Curator at the Indiana State Museum where the document is housed. Ogden says events like these are a great reminder of how special these types of documents are.
“You get used to being around the document, because it’s what you do for a living. Every now and then, at an event like this, it comes home what it is that you’re entrusted with. You know, what an incredible piece of American history you have here to share with other people,” said Ogden.
The four-day National Conference kicks off Wednesday.
The original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation will be on display at the National Constitution Center through mid-September.