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April 18, 2014

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RCS students too see Emancipation Proclamation

First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln by Francis Bicknell Carpenter
Published: 11:49 AM, 01/26/2013 Last updated: 11:52 AM, 01/26/2013

Source: The Rogersville Review

By Bill Grubb
News Editor

ROGERSVILLE - Seventh and eighth grade students at Rogersville City School won a lottery, but the prize they received is a chance to see one of the nation's  treasured documents.
    The RCS students will make a trip to Nashville on February 12 to see the Emancipation Proclamation at the Tennessee State Museum (TSM).
   "This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and they were actually chosen by a lottery," Director Rebecca Isaacs explained.
    The students will make the trip in one day, the director explained, leaving on Greene Coach buses by 6:30 a.m.; visiting the Capital Building; having lunch; touring the museum; then returning by 7 p.m.
    Originally the trip was to cost the school system $1,200, out of approximately $10,000 for the total cost, but Isaacs said that figure will need to be increased to at least $1,400.
   "It's regrettable and unforeseeable, but irrespective of that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students," Isaacs told the board, who approved the field trip.
    The Emancipation Proclamation, which is making its only southeastern U.S. stop in Nashville, will only be on view for 72 hours in February, which is being spread out over a seven day period.
    President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of the Civil War.  The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
    In spite of the wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways.  It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states and exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under the control of Union forces.
    The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery entirely, did not take effect until it was ratified by three-fourths of the states, which occurred on December 6, 1865 when Georgia ratified it.         
    The Emancipation Proclamation will go on view to the public February 12, and close  February 18.  After that date, a facsimile of the document will be in the museum's Civil War exhibit.  Hours for viewing the original Emancipation Proclamation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m from February 12, through February 15; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. February 16 through February 18.  After the 18th, a facsimile of the document will be placed in the exhibit.
    Because visitors to see the document at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan stood in line for up to seven hours, TSM officials are using a system whereby viewers can make timed reservations in advance.  
    "This way, visitors from Memphis, Chattanooga or Knoxville can make a reservation before driving all the way to Nashville," Lois Riggins-Ezzell, museum executive director said.
    Reservations can be made on the hour, quarter hour and half past the hour, with the last 15 minutes of each hour given to walk-ins.  Museum officials estimate that 300 people will be able to see the document each hour.  
    "The National Archives are very strict about controlling the amount of light which is shown on the document.  We have 72 hours of viewing, no more, so we have to make sure everyone who buys a reservation gets in to see it," Riggins-Ezzell explained.
    Walk-ins will be given a walk-in timed pass when they enter the museum.  This way, visitors can walk through the museum until it is time to get in line.  Additionally, this allows the museum to know when it is at capacity for walk-ins.

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