Voices - Visitors' Experience

Visitors' Experience

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 3:16pm

Freedom Center Open Sundays In Summer

 

 

The museum will be open on Sundays beginning May 29.

 

 

 

Our extended summer hours provide more opportunities to engage in historical programming, tour permanent exhibitions and experience special exhibitions including ENSLAVED: A Visual Story of Modern Day Slavery, featuring images by world-renown humanitarian photographer, Lisa Kristine and see the founding documents of freedom, The Emancipation Proclamation and The Thirteenth Amendment, before they close July 24.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s seasonal Sunday hours begin this Sunday, May 29, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., through Labor Day weekend.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia M. Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: ENSLAVEDThe Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: Gift Shop Sale: Mother's Day Gift Ideas and More!, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New CuratorReveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Monday, May 2, 2016 - 8:42am

Freedom Center Open Mondays in May

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be open to the public each Monday in May from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum’s regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The additional hours of operation are needed to accommodate the demand for school group visits throughout the month of May. Nearly 8,000 students will visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this month.

Students from across the region will visit the museum this month, as well as students from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.



The additional hours for school groups provide more opportunities for the public to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and see rare, original copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment. The exhibit featuring both freedom documents side-by-side closes June 30, 2016. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour ENSLAVED: A Visual Story of Modern Day Slavery opening Saturday, May 7, 2016ENSLAVED features images by world-renowned humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine that not only document the lives endured by slaves but also celebrate the freedom they never dreamed possible.

Related Content: ENSLAVEDThe Thirteenth Amendment.

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 2:57pm

Chris Felix Artwork Available for Purchase During Screening of American Pastime

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will host local artist Chris Felix May 4, whose commissioned artwork of American baseball legend Kenichi Zenimura entitled “Kenichi Zenimura, Go for Broke,” will be on view and available for purchase at the screening of American Pastime—a compelling drama, directed Desmond Nakano, set in the Topaz War Relocation Center that interned thousands of Japanese Americans during WWII.

The screening of American Pastime is the fourth film in The Freedom Film series and will take place Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater. The screening is free and open to the public. A welcome reception will be held in the Grand Hall at 5:30 p.m. with the film screening promptly at 6:30 p.m. The Freedom Film Series is sponsored by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

 

 

Felix, a Cincinnati native and College of Art Advertising alumni, has been featured in museums across the country including, The Louisville Slugger Museum, The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (New York), The Green Diamond Gallery (Cincinnati), The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, The Museum Center at Cincinnati Union Terminal, The National Art Museum of Sport (Indianapolis), The George Krevsky Gallery (San Francisco), Convivio Center (San Diego) and the Art on the Levee Gallery (Newport). His art encapsulates the excitement of the great American pastime while celebrating and highlighting Cincinnati’s unique history and role in the sport and its unique players.

Felix’s skill in calling out little-known stories in a widely discussed sport helped to bring Kenichi “The Dean of the Diamond” Zenimura’s compelling story to the forefront of the discussion, where race and civil rights intersect with professional sports. Zenimura was born on January 25, 1900 in Hiroshima, Japan. Shortly after his birth, his family immigrated to America, where they settled in Honolulu, Hawaii. Zenimura’s career in professional baseball began in 1920 in Fresno, California, where he played on all Japanese-American professional teams. He became known as “The Father of Japanese American Baseball,” for his unique ability to play all positions and work collaboratively with Japanese-American, Negro League and Major League teams, quickly becoming an international ambassador for baseball, where he led tours to Japan in 1924, 1927 and 1937. During WWII, Zenimura and his family were sent to the Gila River Indian Reservation at the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona, where he immediately began to establish a baseball field and 32-team league. His efforts would give the hundreds of thousands of interned Japanese Americans a sense of pride and hope during a time of unjust, heighted paranoia and mistrust of a group of Americans.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: ENSLAVEDThe Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New CuratorReveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 2:53pm

Gift Shop Sale: Mother's Day Gift Ideas and More!

Still trying to figure out what to get mom this Mother's Day? The Gift Shop at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is full of great gift ideas—including beautifully and locally hand-crafted jewelry, art, souvenirs, apparel, books, toys, fashion accessories, housewares and more!  Now is the perfect time to purchase an inspired gift for mom during our store-wide 50% off sale, where Freedom Center members get an additional 20% off their purchase!

One of our featured fair trade items is from the Nomi Network and Baskets of Cambodia—two non-profits working to empower survivors of human trafficking with economic and educational opportunities. The Nomi Network was founded in 2009, creating economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking. Through their network, women gain employable skills, secure vital income and educate their daughters, breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

If you’re looking to gift an experience your mom won’t soon forget, take her to the opening of ENSLAVED—the new special exhibition opening May 7 that documents the lives endured by slaves and celebrates the freedom they never dreamed possible.  The exhibition is a powerful statement about one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time with compelling photography that captures the experience of a moment lived in slavery, allowing the viewer to peek into the lives of those who are enslaved. Click here to learn about the exhibit opening with the photographer of the exhibition, Lisa Kristine.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: ENSLAVED, The Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New Curator, Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 12:11pm

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New Curator

This month, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced the appointment of Ashley Jordan of Mansfield, OH, to the role of curator. Jordan's appointment comes as the museum approaches the close of its 2015-2016 theme, "Stories That Must Be Told."

As an undergraduate student at Kent State University, Jordan was a member of the Ronald McNair Scholar’s Program. In 2008, she graduated with a B.A. in History with a minor in Political Science. Shortly after graduation, Jordan accepted a position as a Community Organizer through AmeriCorps. Upon the completion of her one-year service term, she accepted an academic scholarship to attend Howard University for her graduate studies in Public History where she received sound educational training as well as gainful internship experiences. Jordan has had the opportunity to work with the National Museum of American History’s African American Community Life Division; Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial; Mary McLeod Bethune Council House; the National Park Foundation and Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit.

 

In the spring of 2011, she graduated with her Masters, but her commitment to understand and cultivate greater depths in the United States History prompted her to continue her studies. Thus, the following school year she entered the Ph.D. Program at Howard University. As a doctoral student, with an expected graduation date of spring 2017, Jordan’s topic of research is “Steeling Our Way to the Midwest: The Migration of African Americans to Ohio.” The scope of her study looks at the “push-pull factors” that caused many African Americans to flee to the North. The timeline of research begins with the Underground Railroad and concludes with the First Great Migration.

Prior to her arrival at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Jordan spent the last two years as the curator of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. “Ms. Jordan’s arrival to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center marks another exciting moment in our second decade of operation,” says Dr. Michael Battle, executive vice president and provost of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Her experience and background, coupled with her passion and dedication to education and the preservation of history, will surely strengthen our institution’s reputation as a museum of history and of conscience. It’s an honor to welcome her to the Freedom Center family.”

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: The Thirteenth Amendment.

Image: Ashley Jordan

More authored by Assia: Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Saturday, February 27, 2016 - 12:31am

Freedom Center Named Top Historical Spot In Ohio Worth Traveling For

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has been named as one of FlipKey’s Top Historical Spots Worth Traveling For, representing the state of Ohio on the 2016 national list. FlipKey, a TripAdvisor company and leading vacation rental service featuring the world's largest collection of verified vacation rental guest reviews, recognized the museum as one of the country’s “living legends [that] embodies the history and culture of their region.”

The Freedom Center represents Ohio on the list alongside forty-nine other prestigious institutions and museums across the country, including; the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana, the New York Historical Society Museum & Library in New York City, the Prestwould Plantation and historic site in Clarksville, Virginia and the B Reactor of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Richland, Washington.

Matt Moretti, Sr. Content and Media Analyst, staff editor at FlipKey, noted how the museum's unique content and mission connects with visitors, “The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati was an easy choice to represent Ohio for our 50 States: Top Historical Spots list. The stories and exhibits at this museum showcase incredible bravery during one of the most tumultuous times in our country’s history. It is a must-visit attraction in Ohio."

The Center received the recognition from FlipKey in its eleventh year of operation with the theme, “Stories That Must Be Told.” The year-long theme explores and examines national conversations on race, civil rights, cultural appropriation and youth violence through community dialogues, engaging public programming and compelling special exhibitions including: Kin Killin’ Kin, Mascots, the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment.

To view the full list of museums that made the Top 50, click here. For more information on special exhibitions, public programming and hours visit freedomcenter.org. Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Kin Killin’ KinThe Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest: Now Accepting EntriesReveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman, 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 11:20am

2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest: Now Accepting Entries

This week, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced the 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest—a nationwide student art competition challenging students to create works of art capturing America’s struggle for inclusive freedom and equality.

The Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and was developed in 2015 by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to help students draw connections from the Underground Railroad to the Civil Rights Movement to the modern day fight against slavery—providing them with a unique opportunity to learn from America’s struggle for freedom and human rights in an engaging way. Students will also have access to online resources and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s extensive collection of historical resources and exhibitions, enabling them to become better acquainted with freedom’s heroes in person and online.

The winning artworks will be featured in a special exhibit on display beginning July 2016 in the museum’s second and third floor galleries. Last year’s grand prize winner, Jasmyne Leigh Laguna, elaborated on her experience participating in the competition, “I have read and studied about the people that fought and hoped for these unjust times to change. Education and awareness are two of the most important foundations of freedom. The sacrifices of those who stood up for equality paved the path for others to follow,” says the Tucson, Arizona native. “It is important to remember all of the people that brought us to this point in time. We have achieved so much in the hope that we can all come together as equals and live in peace forever. We, as a nation, have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before we can keep moving forward as a community, walking hand in hand with our heads held high.”

The 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and is now accepting entries—click here to view full contest rules and learn how to enter.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.

Image: Walking Hand in Hand, By Jasmyne Leigh Laguna, Grand Prize Winner from Sonoran Science Academy, 12th Grade, Tucson, Arizona

More authored by Assia: Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman, 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 3:18pm

Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games

The Courageous 18: David Albritton

History remembers and celebrates Jesse “the Buckeye Bullet” Owens and his meteoric rise to fame after winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. However, it seems as if history has almost all but forgotten the 17 other black American athletes, 15 men and 2 women, who competed alongside him. Coffee Bluff Pictures and filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper have not forgotten and are telling the stories of the courageous 18 in a new documentary, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, screening at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center February 3.  

In the documentary, the film follows the lives and careers of the brave Olympians, including that of Alabama- born and Ohio- raised David Albritton.  Albritton set the World Record in the high jump with fellow United States Olympic Team member Cornelius Johnson at the 1936 Olympic Trails. Both Johnson and Albritton were the first African Americans to hold a world record in the event.

Albritton was born in Danville, Alabama and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where he met his future Olympic teammate Jesse Owens at Cleveland’s East Technical School. Both would go on to attend the Ohio State University, where they enjoyed academic and athletic success despite the extreme racism and discrimination they faced, restricting them and other African American teammates to ordering carry-out or eating at blacks-only restaurants and staying in blacks-only hotels while traveling with the team.  

 Albritton, left and Owens, right, before the 1936 Olympic Games. Both athletes’ families relocated to Ohio during the Great Migration.

Albritton would go on to win the silver medal in the high jump in Berlin, with a leap of six feet, six and three-quarters inches. Following the Olympics, Albritton returned Columbus, Ohio where he won two additional NCAA titles in the high jump category, in 1937 and 1938. While he was a student at OSU, Albritton received a working scholarship as a page in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate that would later inspire his run for the House in 1960, where he served six terms in the General Assembly. While in the house, Albritton served on the Education, Insurance, and Taxation Committees and in 1969, he became the first African American to chair a House committee.

Following his graduation from the Ohio State University in 1938, Albritton began working as an industrial arts teacher at Dunbar High School in Dayton, OH. During his tenure at Dunbar, Albritton coached track and field where he led his teams to three state titles. Albritton was an entrepreneur and businessman who operated an insurance business for more than thirty years.

In addition to his contributions to civil service and the business community, Albritton served as a trustee of Wright State University where he successfully campaignedto have a street named after Olympic track star Edwin Moses. Albritton's achievements in athletics were recognized when he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980, the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, and the Ohio Sport Hall of Fame. Click here to watch the full trailer for Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.

More authored by Assia: International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman, 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015 - 12:00am

James Pate: The Ice Cube of Contemporary Art

The morning after the exhibit opening of Kin Killin’ Kin at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, I drove to Dayton, Ohio to gain a deeper understanding of the images from the artist James Pate.  I had no intentions on expressing my thoughts, yet I felt compelled and moved to do so.  Being a child of the Hip Hop generation, I discovered several similarities between Pate and O’Shea Jackson, famously known as Ice Cube.      

Ice Cube is often credited with shaping gangsta’ rap in the 90’s.  Nevertheless, his creative expression reflected the harsh realities occurring in many communities across the country.  I was 16 years-old when Ice Cube released his debut solo album, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. This classic album is laced with ground-level views of urban communities that are vivid, often frightening, revolutionary and very personal.  The most intense and thought provoking track on the album is Endangered Species (Tales from the Darkside), featuring Chuck D from Public Enemy.  This track reflects the social and systemic dysfunction that lead to homicides and the epidemic of gun violence which we still struggle with nearly three decades later.       

James Pate was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but raised in Cincinnati, Ohio where he attended the School for the Creative and Performing Arts. During his senior year he earned a scholarship to attend the Art Academy through a Corbett Award. Pate’s art education is mostly contributed to discipline, dedication, and consistent projects that refined his skills. Pate’s work has been exhibited in a number of select galleries and museums. Widely known for his idiosyncratic Techno-Cubism style which fuses realism with spatial abstraction.  Like Ice Cube, James is using his artistic abilities to address the consequences of gun violence.  And like Ice Cube, he’s unapologetic about his bold reflections of street violence and he’s very deliberate in making the viewer uncomfortable.  In the original 13 images of the Kin Killin Kin series reveal 26 guns and 38 isolated bullets.  The volume of guns and bullets are in conjunction of the volume of lives lost to gun violence.  Pate’s work is a self-described tantrum that reflect his love, concern and frustration.    

Ice Cube followed his debut album with works that reflected his genuine anger and scathing commentary about society's ills.  In similar fashion Pate continues to work on pieces that address violence in hope of inspiring us to find productive and sustainable solutions.  The thing I like most about Ice Cube is his storytelling ability and James Pate is comparable in that way in regards to contemporary art.  Every image in the series as a story and a rhythm that triggers an emotion and renders you vulnerable. 

Kin Killin' Kin is open now at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center through Saturday, February 13, 2016.  I encourage everyone to see the amazing artwork of James Pate and be moved to play a positive role in reducing the violence in our communities.        

Chris Miller

Manager of Program Initiatives

Images: Artist James Pate in gallery and Your History

Related Content: Kin Killin’ Kin, Mascots

More Authored by Chris: Artist and Author Speak  

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 12:00am

150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential Proclamation

150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential Proclamation

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, President Obama addressed the nation, calling for Americans "to remember that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others, regardless of where they come from, or what they look like, or what their last name is, or what faith they practice."

Additionally, the President noted the progress made in civil rights and emphasized the work to be done that would ensure legal equality for all Americans.  

Presidential Proclamation: 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

 

On December 6, 1865, a coalition comprising three-quarters of our Nation's States ratified the 13th Amendment to our Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United States and affirming the truth that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. Bringing to a close one of the most painful chapters in our country's history, the Amendment ushered in a new birth of freedom. Today, we celebrate it for the protections it restored and the lives it liberated, and in honor of the millions of slaves who endured brutal violence and daily indignities, we rededicate ourselves to the proposition manifested in its ratification.

 

This Amendment to the Constitution came not only at the culmination of years of Civil War, but also as a result of courageous individuals advocating and agitating for an America in which slavery was no longer an institution of society. President Lincoln gave his last full measure of devotion to the cause he would not live to see codified. He knew the basic rights he sought for slaves could only be secured by a whole and unified Government, and he pursued reconciliation while remaining fierce in his conviction. Volunteers along the Underground Railroad aided slaves seeking freedom, providing safety and comfort in the midst of deep anguish. And soldiers who fought, sometimes against their own sisters and brothers, did so for both the preservation of our Union and liberty itself. The 13th Amendment was the product of generations of men and women who, through centuries of bloodshed and systemic oppression, stayed true to their belief in what America could be and kept marching toward justice.

 

The courage to change that sustained the abolitionist movement carried forth in a long line of heroes who followed -- individuals who loved our country profoundly and answered the patriotic call to push it to expand the boundaries of freedom. From ordinary women stepping into an extraordinary role, bravely fighting for their right to participate in our democracy, to a coalition of conscience that marched on our Nation's Capital and protested for equality, the last century and a half has been defined by those who stood resolute in keeping lit the flame that burned in the hearts of all those determined to secure what they knew to be their God-given rights.

 

Today, we continue the long journey toward an America and a world where liberty and equality are not reserved for some, but extended to all. Across the globe, including right here at home, millions of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. We remain committed to abolishing slavery in all its forms and draw strength from the courage and resolve of generations past.

 

One hundred and fifty years after the 13th Amendment's ratification, the United States endures, and though the scourge of slavery is a stain on our history, we remain a people not trapped by the mistakes of our past, but one that can look at our imperfections with humility and decide it is within our power to remake our Nation to more closely align with our highest ideals. On this historic occasion, let us pay tribute to those who suffered for too long and to those who risked everything to make this country better. With unyielding determination to stand on their shoulders and reach for an even freer and more equal tomorrow, we can honor them with the recognition and respect worthy of their extraordinary contributions to our country.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 6, 2015, as the 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate the 13th Amendment.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

Click here to listen to the President’s speech. Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Images: President Obama speaks in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill Wednesday during a commemoration ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery in the U.S./ USA TODAY

 

Related Content: The Thirteenth Amendment, Kin Killin’ Kin.

More authored by Assia: Flame Friday: Artist James Pate, Freedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

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