2:10pm January 13, 2013

Emancipation Proclamation Celebrated in Former Confederate Capital


By Jeremy M. Lazarus Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The church rocked to the sounds of gospel music, and people danced in the aisles at the freedom celebration on New Year’s Day.

The event: Richmond’s worship service to mark the 150th anniversary of the President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation — the landmark Civil War edict he issued Jan. 1, 1863, freeing slaves in Virginia and nine other rebel Southern states fighting to uphold human bondage. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, whose un-American mission was to preserve slavery and destroy the United States.

“When I see what God has done for us, when I think of where we were and where we are, I know that God is still working miracles,” Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, also a Baptist minister, told the nearly 700 people who packed Fifth Baptist Church in the West End.

The service was the only area event — and the largest in Virginia — to mark the proclamation that paved the way for full abolition two years later with the passage of the 13th Amendment and also opened the door for the enlistment of 180,000 Black soldiers who were pivotal in the Union victory over the Confederacy and slavery.

In welcoming participants, the Rev. Earl M. Brown, pastor of Fifth Baptist, held up a recent edition of the Richmond Free Press in which the newspaper devoted a full page to feature the full text of the Emancipation Proclamation. Rev. Brown said the newspaper’s editor/publisher, Raymond H. Boone, had provided hundreds of copies, “particularly for the young people” in attendance.

The minister urged participants to take copies to share with their children and grandchildren, citing the newspaper’s inclusion of photos of President Lincoln and the great abolitionist advocate Frederick Douglass. In the same edition, the Free Press also recognized Dr. W. L. Ransome, the late founder of the annual proclamation worship service and civil rights advocating pastor of First Baptist Church of South Richmond, of which the mayor is now the senior pastor.

Mayor Jones was among a handful of elected officials who attended the three-hour service hosted by the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Richmond and Vicinity to mark the great occasion. This was the 74th service since the annual program began in 1940. Others included Richmond Delegates Betsy B. Carr and Jennifer McClellan, Richmond state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III and Henrico County Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson, also pastor of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Jackson Ward.

Sen. Marsh told the audience, “I teared up” in thinking back to the horrors that people endured before slave auction blocks were completely dismantled — begun by the proclamation. “This is just a tidbit of what African-Americans went through,” Sen. Marsh said.

He said that the state commission he chairs, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, planned to host events over the next two years to celebrate the proclamation and also is seeking to establish a Richmond monument to the great document. In a city of stone markers “to the generals who lost, it is time we do something to celebrate those who won.”

The power of faith from slavery to modern times was a major theme at the service, including the remarks of the main speaker, Dr. Leonard N. Smith, senior minister of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Arlington and past president of the Virginia Baptist State Convention, the state’s oldest organization of black churches. Citing verses from the Book of Isaiah, he said that God had been there through the “dark times then” and is there in the “dark times now” as too many suffer from unemployment, violence and poverty.

The event also included a performance of excerpts from a cantata, “Changed My Name,” in which a choir and actors recalled the brutality of the slave auctions where people for generations were bought and sold.

About the Author




Boycott: Black Friday Sales Drop By Over $1Billion

Sales at brick and mortar stores on Black Friday fell from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $10.4 billion in 2015, according to a report by Associated Press using data from the retail researcher ShopperTrak.  On Thanksgiving, shopper...
by Lauren Victoria Burke


GOP Turns Terrorist Attack on Paris Into Anti-Refugee Fiasco

France just suffered the worst attack on its nation since World War II and what are we talking about? A tiny number of refugees coming to the United States.  Not a terrorism strategy or whether or not there will be a vote to d...
by Lauren Victoria Burke


Rep. John Conyers Supports Criminal Intent Bill, Catches Hell From Left

Other Democrats have been criticized for it, but they weren’t in the position of actually passing legislation on the issue. As of yesterday, the most senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee is.  Rep. John Conyer...
by Lauren Victoria Burke



H.R. 3713: Sentencing Reform Act Reported Out of House Judiciary

Below is the press release on H.R. 3713, the Sentencing Reform Act, which was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee today.  The legislation is similar to the Senate bill, S. 2123 authored primarily by Senate Judiciary ...
by Politic365 Staff


AG Loretta Lynch Testifies Like a Supreme Court Nominee

Supreme Court Hearing Breaks Out at House Judiciary… There’s being careful.  And then maybe there’s being a bit too careful.  On Tuesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified as if she answering an abor...
by Lauren Victoria Burke



Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>