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Feb. 11, 2004
CONTACT: Carol Anderson

1776 copy of Declaration of Independence to visit EMU campus, March 15

YPSILANTI - Most people know at least some of the words of the Declaration of Independence, but few have actually seen the document. That will change March 15 as an original copy of the historic document will be on display at Eastern Michigan University's McKenny Union from 4-6 p.m.

The event, which is free, is part of a nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign called "Declare Yourself" and is meant to encourage people to register to vote in the 2004 presidential election.

The "Declare Yourself" college tour is the culmination of a three-year project, in which the document has traveled to 50 cities. The unsigned copy of the Declaration of Independence is one of 200 Dunlap broadside copies that pre-date the famous signed copy.

On July 4, 1776, broadside (20" x 16" paper printed on one or two sides) copies were printed at John Dunlap's print shop. The copies were rushed to the 13 colonies and to the army to be read aloud to the people. The original, signed Declaration of Independence resides at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C.

A discussion of themes in the Declaration of Independence, led by EMU political science professor Jeffrey Bernstein, will open the day at 3 p.m.

"To have the document here is something remarkable," he said. "We are coming into a critical and crucial year, and need to look at how the world has changed in post 9/11. Candidates are a different and diverse group and voters have a clear choice. Students need to be aware of the election choices."

The University of Michigan is co-sponsoring the event and will have activities on its Ann Arbor campus from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. EMU and the University of Michigan are the only Michigan universities participating in the 18-city college campus tour of the campaign.

The Home Depot and AXA Financial., Inc. are major sponsors of the event. Partners include Yahoo!, Clear Channel communications, Friendster.com, Vibe.com, the National Association of Secretaries of State and Newspapers in Education.

For additional information, contact Charmica Miller, EMU leadership and student organizations program coordinator, 734.487.3045, e-mail charmica.miller@emich.edu or log on www.declareyourself.com.

Further information about the Declaration of Independence itself is here.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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