President Barack Obama views the Emancipation Proclamation with a small group of African American seniors, their grandchildren and some children from the Washington, D.C. area, in the Oval Office. Jan. 1 marked the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and in his statements recognizing that important date, President Obama said this: “President Abraham Lincoln courageously declared that on January 1, 1863, during the midst of the nation’s civil war, ‘all persons held as slaves’ in rebellious areas ‘shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.’ He opened the Union Army and Navy to African Americans, giving new strength to liberty’s cause just to preserve, but also to empower. He sought to reunite our people not only in government, but also in freedom that knew no bounds of color or creed. Every battle became a battle for liberty itself. Every struggle became a struggle for equality.”