With this 2013 stamp, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln signed on January 1, 1863. Lincoln's proclamation, issued nearly two years into the Civil War, declared that all slaves in the rebel states of the Confederacy "are, and henceforward shall be free."
The stamp art uses that powerful statement, "Henceforward Shall Be Free," on a design evocative of broadsides from the Civil War era.
Lincoln believed the Emancipation Proclamation, potentially applying to several million African-American slaves in the South, was the "central act of my administration, and the great event of the nineteenth century." According to many historians, only the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States have had as great an impact on human life and liberty for so many.