Emancipation Proclamation issued 150 years ago

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
The proclamation stated: “[O]n the first day of January ... all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s courageous action continues to resound in American culture. While the proclamation was in some ways symbolic – the document only freed slaves in areas not under Lincoln’s political control at that time – it did state formally and clearly that all people should be free.
In a sense, Lincoln was expanding on the high-minded rhetoric of Thomas Jefferson decades earlier – “that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
As 2012 gave way to 2013, many Cowetans gathered at Watch Night services in local churches. Watch Night originated with the Moravians in the early 1700s. John Wesley, who founded the Methodist movement, incorporated the Watch Night tradition into the denomination’s practices, and the concept has spread to other religious groups as well.
While Watch Night has always had a theme of looking inward and evaluating one’s spiritual state, the tradition took on an added layer of meaning on Dec. 31, 1862, as enslaved black Americans awaited the proclamation of freedom at midnight.

The last day of 1862 has come to be known as Freedom’s Eve.

In Coweta County, there is an ongoing observance of various events relating to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation – and its standard of freedom for all people – continues to resound in our lives a century and a half after Lincoln took his bold stand.



More Opinion

Georgia Says

Albany (Georgia) Herald on Islamic State's threat to America: Call it ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State. By any name it is deadly, and America ... Read More


Because it’s none of our business

Grantville’s parks and recreation director was suspended for one week without pay. And the reason for that was … Hang on a seco ... Read More


Try voting for a change

A popular Coweta County middle school teacher resigned last week and was later charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. And the Int ... Read More


Rants, Raves & Really?!?

A look back at last week’s highs, lows and whatevers: RANT: A 41-year-old, Michael Rivera of Palmetto, died in a single-vehicle accide ... Read More


Georgia Says

The Times, Gainesville, Georgia, on expressions of faith: On any given fall Friday night, you'd be hard-pressed to find a football field in ... Read More

Foley beheading is ‘growing up’ moment for social media

The beheading of American journalist James Foley – and the distribution of images showing that crime – have led to a moment of m ... Read More