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12,000 Flock To See Emancipation Proclamation

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(WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

(WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

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DEARBORN (WWJ) – It’s not a fake, a copy, or a replica. It’s the real deal. It’s the Emancipation Proclamation, and it’s on display in Dearborn.  A spokesperson for The Henry Ford said 12,000 people had come to see the document as of Tuesday afternoon.  The wait, Tuesday evening, was expected to be four hours.

The exhibit is open all day and night, with free admission.  The wait ranged from three to six hours late Monday night and in the early morning hours, Tuesday.

What is the draw?

“Without it today, who knows where we’d be. I mean, it really represents freedom for everyone and we’re all created equal, and that’s what it’s all about,” one woman told WWJ.

Thomas Bonds said he arrived early to beat the line and explain the significance of the document to his 3- and 5-year-old sons.

“Just came out here to show the kids, a new experience, pretty much, a little bit of history …” said Bonds.

WWJ’s Stephanie Davis was also in line.

“I entered the doors here and a young woman handed me a program for the next few days here, she said, ‘You know there is a wait …about three hours.’  I said, ‘No problem.’  Just like many other people here, they are standing in line patiently in order to get to see the historical document,” said Davis.

Among those waiting Tuesday morning was Darnell Welch and his two young daughters.

“Honestly, my daughter was just studying Civil War, slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation in her books. So, when this opportunity came up, we couldn’t miss it. I have to cherish these moments, get out while we can,” said Welch.

“This is one of those memorable things that you just can’t miss. Especially when it’s coming to Detroit, you have to take advantage, right?”

The historical document declares: “… all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State … shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

The Emancipation Proclamation is on display around-the-clock through 6 a.m. Wednesday.

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