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Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 as a precursor to the abolishment of slavery upon the ratification of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The first Watch Night services were held on New Year’s Eve, 1862, in anticipation of the date when slaves were proclaimed free in states in rebellion against the United States. This year, the anniversary of the Proclamation will be celebrated by the National Archives with viewings of the original Proclamation, musical performances, a dramatic reading and panel discussions.
In Massachusetts, the anniversary will be marked in Springfield and Amherst.

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