Norwich celebrates signing of Emancipation Proclamation - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Norwich celebrates signing of Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago


Norwich had one of the biggest celebrations anywhere to mark the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by then President Abraham Lincoln.

The city marked the 150th year anniversary of that event with another celebration complete with bells and cannon fire.

"We're reliving history and at the same time creating a little bit of our own," said Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom.

History was much on the minds of folks filing into Norwich City Hall Tuesday who were greeted by a Lincoln reenactor. He proceeded to read and sign a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

"This gives us an opportunity to reach back in time to what the people of Norwich did then and we're doing it all over again in a big way," Nystorm said.

Lincoln campaigned in Norwich and the president has always had a special place in the city's history and heart. A new bell was casted for the celebration and folks lined up to ring as they marked the moment as did they 150 years ago.

"It was just a wonderful experience to think we've come this way and I wish we could all get together and work together like we all should," said Norma Parish of Norwich.

Each of the people lined up to ring the bell had their own reasons and will carry away their own memories.

"Something really brings to heart," said Don Dykes of Montville. "We're really all one people and we need to remember that."

The Emancipation Proclamation didn't really end slavery in the whole country, but it began the process and that's what these folks here are celebrating Tuesday.

The chiming of bell in front of City Hall was echoed throughout the city by bells in church towers and civic buildings for an hour. There was a 100-gun cannon salute on the water front with six batteries from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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