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stuffOn January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that “all persons held as slaves” within the states in rebellion “are, and henceforward, shall be free.” The step came just over three months after the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862, by the commander-in-chief following a major victory in the field, the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862. The 1863 proclamation changed the nature of the war. From that point on, every advance of Union troops expanded the domain of freedom. At the same time, it is important to understand that enslaved persons before and during the war took actions that directly impacted their liberty, escaping from their captors or, in some cases, simply walking away. Freedom and its ramifications shed light on the war and on modern American history. Members of a planning committee within the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, along with colleagues at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, and Old Salem, invite you to join nineteen presenters on October 17 and 18, 2013, for a conference to examine freedom and other legacies of the war. Subjects to be considered include free blacks during the conflict, United States Colored Troops, African American spies, women, freedmen and family, and the lives of noted North Carolinians, Harriet Jacobs and Abraham Galloway. Presentations include those by professors and graduate students, and selected papers from a class of Wake Forest undergraduates. Questions to be considered include: What did emancipation accomplish and what challenges for freedom remained? How did African Americans take advantage of the changes brought by the war? Why is the Civil War important 150 years later? What is most important to remember about the Civil War? What lessons can we take from the past? On May 20, 2011, the North Carolina Office of Archives and History sponsored a conference on the theme of memory at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, with Yale University scholar David Blight as the keynote speaker. In the spring of 2015, timed to coincide with the anniversaries of the fall of Fort Fisher, Sherman’s March, and the close of the war, a third and final conference on the remaining theme of sacrifice will be held in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.