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Emancipation Proclamation Marked in Western Mass.

American-Flag-WEBAMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Communities in western Massachusetts are planning to mark the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that at least 20 churches, the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College will ring bells at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation at 2 p.m. on Jan. 1, 1863. The proclamation declared that all slaves in the states in rebellion were “forever free.”

The emancipation affected about 4 million men, women and children and energized anti-slavery groups.

Many slaves in the South were not freed until Union soldiers arrived and the Confederacy was defeated.

In Amherst, people who gather on the Amherst common will stand in a circle and read from the proclamation.

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