The sesquicentennial events of the Maryland Campaign are now underway. I know that the interpretive ranger staff at Antietam, among other places, has been preparing for months. I would love to be in Maryland for anniversary weekend but alas that will not be feasible. Still, the campaign had obvious consequences for the country and there are many events marking the occasion accordingly. The culmination of the military campaign was of course Lincoln’s release of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. It had slipped under my radar but thankfully the Hayfoot noticed that the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is having a four-day-only exhibit to mark the occasion. The First Step to Freedom will be showing in the Harlem library’s exhibit hall from September 21-24. There have been several excellent exhibition marking the proclamation over the past year but this one is special: it includes the last surviving draft of the document written in President’s Lincoln hand. The exhibition is free but tickets are required. We just booked ours a few minutes ago.

Try to make this one if you can. And Sylvia’s is just down the street. What are you doing for the sesquicentennial?

(image/President Lincoln writing the Proclamation of Freedom, David Gilmour Blythe)