LIU Post was offered a special opportunity to display President Lincoln’s only surviving handwritten draft of the emancipation Proclamation in the Tilles Center of Performing Arts at the “First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation” exhibit. The final version of the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, was destroyed in a fire in Chicago in 1871. The draft is the only remaining copy, which led to the abolishment of slavery and the freedom of slaves. The New York State Legislature purchased the draft in 1865 days after Lincoln passed away.
LIU Post is the only Long Island exhibitor of this rare document while it goes on a state-wide tour to mark the 150thanniversary of one of the nation’s greatest accomplishments. LIU Post and the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts are pleased and honored to join with the New York State Education Department and SUNY College of Old Westbury in presenting these national treasures to the community,» said Dr. Paul Forestell. Along with Lincoln’s draft, a speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation is also on display next to the draft.
Students who have seen the historical document expressed their admiration for it. “I think it’s great we we’re able to see a part of history in the Tilles Center,” says Mitch Mark, senior Psychology major. “It’s almost like reliving a part of history and it’s really special.” Matt Aronberg, an Information Studies graduate student says, “It’s amazing how a piece of paper was able to change so much of our history and to make our country the way it is now.”
At the opening ceremony held in the Hillwood Commons Lecture Hall during Common Hour, Dr. Forestell, Dr. Steinberg, Dr. John B. King, Jr., Andrew P. Jackson and Robert Tilles reminded visitors that freedom and equality hasn’t been reached yet. Robert Tilles explains to those in attendance the segregation on Long Island. “We have pockets of poverty. We drove along the road between the high and low performing [school] districts, and you see people across the street here look at people across the street there saying, ‘how come they get the best education and how come we get the worst education?’”
Both historical documents were on display for the public with free admission on October 15 and 16 from1 pm to 9 pm. The exhibit was offered in partnership with LIU Post, LIU Votes and the Tilles Center of Performing Arts.