Commonwealth of Massachusetts
A Proclamation
His Excellency Deval L. Patrick

Whereas This nation was founded under the curse of slavery, the first African slaves arriving in Virginia and Massachusetts only a few years after the first English settlers came in 1607 and 1620; and 

Whereas In the 1800s Massachusetts become the center of the abolition movement, was home to many important abolitionists, and was the location of significant protests against the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850; and

Whereas The conflict rooted in the continuing existence of slavery and expansion of slavery to newly admitted states led to the Civil War in April, 1861; and

Whereas On January 1, 1863 at approximately two o'clock in the afternoon, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, proclaiming that "all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they make for their actual freedom."; and

Whereas Massachusetts was the home of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, comprised of African-American troops, whose assault on Fort Wagner in July, 1863 did much to advance the abolitionist cause; and

Whereas January 1, 2013 marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which brought forth a new birth of freedom for this nation,

Now, Therefore, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim January 1, 2013 to be,


And urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this twenty eighth day of December, in the year two thousand and twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

By His Excellency

Deval L. Patrick
Governor of the Commonwealth

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth

God Save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts