Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation taking effect:
“On January 1, 1863, with the stroke of President Abraham Lincoln’s pen, the arc of American history bent dramatically toward liberty and justice for all. With the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation, our nation began to honor the vision set forth by our founders – that ‘all men are created equal’ – and started to turn the tide of progress toward the promise of freedom for every American.
“President Lincoln’s bold action – what he called an ‘act of justice’ – marked the first official step in the struggle for civil rights, and it still inspires us to this day. As we gathered with over 30 Members of Congress and others at the National Archives on New Year’s Eve to view the original document and celebrate its meaning, we were reminded of our best traditions as Americans: the ability and obligation of each generation to carry forward the torch of freedom, to strengthen our democracy, and to widen the circle of opportunity across our country.
“Today, let us all take pride in observing the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and reflect on its impact on our history and our society. Let us take heed of its lessons as an extraordinary act of political and moral courage. Let us strive to live up to its legacy and renew the promise of a ‘new birth of freedom’ in our time.”