2017-12-28 / Front Page

Community invited to E.P. Observance at Ebenezer Jan. 1

The 155th annual Emancipation Proclamation Observance, a tradi­tion that has been kept since 1863, will be held Monday, January 1, at 10 a.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church, to which the community is invited.

This year’s speaker is Dr. Ricky Edmund, assistant superintendent of Lincoln County schools.

An introduction for Edmund will be provided by Dr. Howie Gunby, principal of Lincoln County High School.

Presiding over the service will be Rev. Stanley Key, representing Ebenezer Baptist Church, with a prelude by Donnell Harris, fol­lowed by a devotion given by Rev. Seymour Harrison, pastor of White Rock Baptist Church.

Greetings will be provided by Alexis Norman, and Shayla Beard, a senior at LCHS, will read the Emancipation Proclamation.

An offertory prayer will be given by Rev. Willie J. White, pastor of Newberry Missionary Baptist Church.

Others taking part in the special observance include Kenneth Elam, president of the Lincoln County Chapter of the NAACP; Barry Norman, president of the Twilight Improvement Association, Inc. (TIA); Rev. Fred Perriman, pas­tor of Ebenezer Baptist Church; Henry Jones, representing Mulberry C.M.E. Church; and Ernest Harris, representing Newberry Missionary Baptist Church.

Special music will be provided by the New Tabernacle Baptist Church choir.

The congregation will likewise join together and sing the Negro National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

The final draft of the Emancipa­tion Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Janu­ary 1, 1863.

Almost from the beginning of his administration, the president was pressured to issue a proclamation freeing the slaves. In principle, Lincoln approved, but he postponed taking any action until he believed he had wider support from the American public. Basically, he was trying to save the Union.

President Lincoln read his initial draft of the Emancipation Proclama­tion to Secretary of State William H. Seward and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles on July 13, 1862. Both men were speechless. In es­sence, the document mandated that all slaves in the states that refused to reunite with the Union by January 1, 1863, would be freed.

Later that July, the president raised the issue at a cabinet meet­ing and received a mixed reaction. Fortunately, he wanted the advice of his cabinet on only the style of the proclamation, not its substance.

The course was set for what many consider to be the crowning achievement of the Lincoln Admin­istration.

The proclamation was further re­fined during a cabinet meeting held September 22, 1862.

Sadly, the original document was lost in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Surviving photographs show that it was written primarily in Lincoln’s own hand.

Although the proclamation was signed in 1863, the slaves were not immediately freed. This did not occur until 1865, when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery uniform­ly throughout the entire nation.

The Emancipation Proclamation Observance is being sponsored by the TIA and the local NAACP chapter.

Ebenezer Baptist Church is locat­ed at 1157 Ebenezer Church Road, off of Highway 79.

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