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GU Celebrates Constitution Day with Emancipation Proclamation Focus

SEPT. 17, 2012 – GEORGETOWN MARKS CONSTITUTION DAY with two events this week – one focusing on the Emancipation Proclamation, and the other on the preservation of First Amendment rights when dealing with national security leaks.

The first event features a live broadcast of renowned Civil War scholars from around the country talking about the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s issuance of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation participating in an unscripted discussion moderated by Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)-partnered event, “Emancipation Nation: Celebrating Freedom on Constitution Day,” will be broadcast from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Warner Bros. Theatre before a live student audience from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. today.

The United States Congress passed a law in 2004 establishing Sept. 17 as Constitution Day. The law mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide programming about the Constitution on that day.


Lincoln’s declaration made abolition a goal of the Civil War.

“The Emancipation Proclamation forever changed our country,” said NEH chair Jim Leach in a press release. “To understand our history it is critical to observe what America was like in the days preceding Lincoln’s proclamation. The panel’s representation of wide-ranging perspectives will provide a unique view of this period, and allow the audience to grasp the magnitude of what happened as a result.”


On Sept. 20, Georgetown Law Center, in collaboration with The Constitution Project, will sponsor “Constitution Day 2012: Plugging National Security Leaks While Preserving Free Speech,” 9:45 a.m.-noon on the 12th floor of the Gewirz Student Center. The event is open to the public.

The Constitution Project also will honor Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Priest with its Constitutional Commentary Award. During her career, Priest has written about secret detention facilities in foreign countries, revealed the existence of counterterrorist intelligence centers run jointly with the CIA and foreign intelligence services.