January 1, 2017, marks the 154th anniversary of the day Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The NAACP celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation annually, but not because it freed slaves or abolished slavery, but because we recognize it as a catalyst for slaves being freed and because of the importance of us celebrating all of our history.
The Emancipation Proclamation served as a symbol that changed the course of the Civil War. The war was originally in the North aimed at uniting the North and the South; however the Emancipation Proclamation changed the dialogue from a conversation about the North and South uniting into one about slavery.
Each time the Union was able to proclaim victory, it was a victory that could be exhorted by those who opposed slavery. It served as a symbol of hope for those who were fighting for their freedom. It simply gave slaves the hope that freedom was attainable.
This year’s NAACP celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation continue to serve as a reminder that our social and economic chains of slavery can be abolished just as our ancestors’ physical chains were. We must continue to fight and understand that if we see no reason to fight for socioeconomic justice, we can’t expect for anyone to do it for us.
Next year’s celebration will be hosted Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, at Positive Impact Ministries, where Pastor Kara’lynne Brubaker tends her flock. Located at 2750 34th St. S, St. Petersburg, the program will be at 3 p.m.
Pastor Robert Vinson, senior pastor of Faith Memorial Missionary Baptist Church will be the speaker. In addition to the Emancipation Service, the National Council of Negro Women St. Petersburg Metropolitan Section will join the NAACP in presenting the Dorothy Height Forever Stamp to the community.
Maria L. Scruggs, President, St. Petersburg Branch NAACP