HBLL features emancipation exhibit in February
In honor of Black History Month, the Harold B. Lee Library is displaying original emancipation era documents for a limited time. This valuable collection includes a copy of the original executive order issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863 that named the 10 states where slaves were explicitly freed.
In addition to this privileged piece, the exhibit contains authentic letters and documents regarding the leasing, purchasing and eventual freeing of slaves. The exhibit also features a series of “tracts”, or pamphlets, attacking the institution of slavery written by influential opinion leaders such as Longfellow and Harriett Beecher Stowe. One of these tracts originally belonged to the brother of John Wilkes Booth, and still bears his inscription.
“This is a powerful exhibit,” says curator Russ Taylor. “The emotional and political turmoil of this era emanates from these artifacts.”
One item Taylor describes to pack particular poignancy is a document detailing the purchase and emancipation of the slave “Mary,” by her own mother, “Tiller” in 1818.
This exhibit will be on display in the L. Tom Perry Special Collection until February 28. This area is located on the first level of the Harold B. Lee Library.