A group of churches in the Pioneer Valley, including the Haydenville Congregational Church, are inviting congregations around the Commonwealth to join them in ringing their bells at 2:00 PM on Jan. 1, 2013, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the moment the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and became effective.
On September 22, 1862, President Lincoln issued a Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation that said he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any Confederate state that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. It was an important statement by the President of his intention to end slavery if the war did not end. None of the Confederate states returned and on January 1, 1863, Lincoln used his war powers, and issued his Emancipation Proclamation as an executive order. The Proclamation immediately freed close to 50,000 slaves and provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced. It committed the Union to ending slavery which was a controversial decision even in the North. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. Most of the border states exempted by the Proclamation ended slavery before the end of the Civil War. Slavery continued to be legal until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment went into effect.
For more information, contact: Robert Romer, 413-253-7748