September 22, 1862: Abraham Lincoln Issues Emancipation Proclamation

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This declaration set a date for the freedom of more than three million black slaves in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation ordered the emancipation of all slaves residing in Confederate states that had not returned to Union control by January 1, 1863. It emphasized the mission of the Civil War as a fight against slavery.

The Emancipation Proclamation was signed and issued on January 1, 1863.

To read Lincoln’s legendary decree, visit Ken Burns’s The Civil War site.

Image: The first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the cabinet / painted by F.B. Carpenter ; engraved by A.H. Ritchie, circa 1866. (Library of Congress)

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I am so here for Tom in all his pyjama clad heroic glory.

We used to blaze brighter than any forest fire.
Our hands were burned,
And our teeth reeked of smoke,
And our lips always tasted crisp.

We used to dance in the middle of the night like moths to each other’s flame,
Lost, happy, and never ready to stop.
Every time we flickered, we came back stronger.
We were unquenchable.

We were never meant to be reduced to ash.
We were so strong that we forgot what it meant to be weak.
We learned by losing our spark.

We will scorch everyone in our path.
We will play with the tips of their hair and destroy them.
We will whisper in their ears of nightmares.
We will do it all again.

We will burn together.

—  Rekindling a flame

You are not your scars.
You are not the names he called you,
the words that seethed in the back of your throat like the rust you tasted every time he split your lip.
You are not the two hospital bracelets that scalded your skin like shame,
that tasted like his fist when you tore them off with your teeth.

You are not your memories.
You are not the cold sweats, the nightmares.
You are not the tremble in your hands when you smell his cologne.
You are so much more than all of this.

You are constantly being reborn.
There are parts of you that never knew his touch. There are parts of you that always will. This is okay. It all came from supernovas, and it will return to dust someday. Know this and love yourself for it.

Polish the last of his fingerprints from your bones.
You are too beautiful
to let him haunt you like this.
You are too good for his ghost.

—  Forgetting him