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Springfield Celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation's 150th Anniversary
Lincoln, colored warriors and the spirit of freedom. Reenactors and historians are turning the clock back 150 years to celebrate and reflect on a pivotal moment in history.
The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The document, signed by Abraham Lincoln that freed more than 3 million slaves.
"There's a number of historians-- when they're asked about this fella Abraham Lincoln-- and they say they love coming to the Old State Capitol cause it is where he still lives," Abraham Lincoln impersonator George Buss said.
And so too his message of freedom and equality.
"It's giving the public to take a deeper look into that document which changed the outcome for so many hundreds of thousands of people," Buss said.
People like African American Civil War Museum curator Hari Jones, who dedicates his life to educating others about one of our nation's ugliest periods.
"This is the bloodiest episode in American history. It is our great Civil War. Every causality, blue or gray, was an American casualty," Jones said.
Although at that time not every soldier, black or white, was an American citizen.
It was a proud thing to wear a uniform. That you're willing to die for a country at that particular time that really didn't care for you and it symbolized a lot," Illinois 29th Infantry United States Colored Troops reenactor Luther Johnson said.
"How Lincoln's Emancipation policy was so critical to winning the Civil War and how African American soldiers become an important part of that victory," Jones said.
"And what we want to do is remind people of the sacrifices that were made," Abraham Lincoln Association board member Robert Davis said.
For a freedom that some say is still young and far from flawless.
"We still today are living up, like i say, working toward creating a more perfect union and really the test of whether this great experiment is going to work," Jones said.
Throughout the day dozens dropped in to learn about the Emancipation Proclamation.
The celebration ended with a wreath laying honoring the United States Colored Troops and the Grand Army of the Republic.