SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Hundreds turned out Saturday to honor the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation at the Old State Capitol.
Lincoln issued the proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. It stated “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Saturday’s events honored the role of black soldiers in the Civil War.
Illinois 29th Infantry United States Colored Troops re-enactor Luther Johnson says black soldiers contributed greatly to the war’s outcome. Malcolm Beech, president of the United States Colored Troops Living History Association, says the black soldiers were brave men who fought for their own freedom.
The day included a reenactment of Lincoln signing the proclamation and a wreath-laying honoring the United States Colored Troops and the Grand Army of the Republic.