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Original Lincoln document comes to MWPAI

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The only surviving draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation will be on display at Utica's Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) November 6th and 7th. The preliminary document has been traveling through New York State and will be in Utica before going to Albany and then back to being stored in archives.

The document dates back to 1862, all in Lincoln's own handwriting.

"Abraham Lincoln threatens the southern states that are in rebellion if they don't come back into the fold of the union that all the slaves in those rebellious southern states were set free," explained Anna D'Ambrosio, Director of MWPAI.

The whole exhibition, called "The First Step to Freedom" will include a historical background and interpretation of the draft as well as the manuscript of a speech written and delivered in New York City by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the Proclamation's centennial.

"Like the Lincoln document you can see where Martin Luther King went through it and edited and was really trying to make a speech that was both livening and inspiring and making a real point," said D'Ambrosio.

Because of the documents' sensitivity the museums lights need to remain dimmed, and the skylights have been blocked. No photography will be allowed.

"It really brings those events of the Civil War to life for us to see how Abraham Lincoln drafted the document and crafted it so it would have maximum impact and he was also a very careful politician so you can see his thought process in looking at this document," said D'Ambrosio.

The exhibition is free and open to the public at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute Tuesday November 6th, and Wednesday November 7th. The Museum will observe extended hours from 9 am to 9 pm. both days.

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