The Effingham County Branch NAACP, local church organizations and civic groups will celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on New Years' Day, Sunday, January 1, 2023, 3pm at St. Mark Baptist Church, 122 Second Street in Clyo.
The Honorable Dr. Otis S. Johnson, who served as Mayor of Savannah from 2004 to 2012, will be the primary speaker. Mayor Johnson has been a renowned public servant and educator for decades. A full agenda of additional activities and speakers is scheduled, including the installation of officers for the Effingham County Branch NAACP.
This in-person event brings back a tradition whereby the Emancipation Proclamation celebration takes place annually on January 1 at different churches in Effingham County on a rotating basis. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the celebration was a drive-in, stay-in-your car event the past two years at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Association in Guyton.
Throughout the United States, community organizations and civil rights' groups, including the NAACP, celebrate the proclamation annually on January 1. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the executive order named the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, in the midst of the US Civil War. The order states, in part, that all slaves in the rebellious states (by this, President Lincoln meant the states of the Confederacy) shall "henceforth, and, forever, be free."
This executive order basically served as a motivating force, proclaiming that the abolition of slavery was, indeed, one of the goals of the Union's forces. At that time, some doubted that the abolition of slavery was a real goal of the Union in the Civil War. In truth, however, it was not until the passage of the U.S. Constitution's 13th Amendment, which had to be ratified by three-quarters of the states, took place on December 18, 1865, that the abolition of slavery was a reality. The Thirteenth Amendment stated, in part, that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude... shall exist."