Locals Celebrate 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

SACRAMENTO – A local organization is preparing to showcase the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, with the goal of providing essential educational resources to understand “what it means to be an American.”

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, in the midst of the bloody Civil War. It went into effect on January 1, 1863 and declared that those who were enslaved, be set free. Michael Harris, the California director of The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association says there’s much more to the story.

The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association begins its exploration of the Emancipation Proclamation and its legacy on Saturday, September 22 at the California State Capitol at 1:00 p.m. Festivities begin in Room 126, with a free matinee performance of the play “Black Country.” The play features Ernest Johnson and his personal musical journey through Texas.

Much has been said about Texas in the history of the Emancipation Proclamation. Millions celebrate Juneteenth annually, marking the anniversary of the enforcement of emancipation in the state of Texas. Harris wants the history of California told as well.

“Black agriculture continues to quantify our past, present and future throughout the Sacramento River Basin. Not far from our California State Capitol, ‘Civil War’ intense battles in the aftermath of the California Gold Rush and ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution tell the story of an empowered and effective legacy of our contribution to the forward flow of humanity,” Harris shared.

“Bipartisan leaders within the California State Capitol and U.S. Capitol are making an effort to explore the valuable education lessons available by sharing the legacy of the journey towards the Emancipation Proclamation,” he continued.

A formal opening ceremony will be held at 2:00 p.m. on the North Steps of the California State Capitol and will feature participants of regional, state and international note. The keynote speaker will be Dr. John Jackson, President of William Jessup University. Also speaking will be Dr. Ralph Lee White, founder of the Stockton Black Leadership Council.

“(He) is committed to reaching every household in America to let them know that Abraham Lincoln was instructed by God, just as Moses was to set up the Tabernacle on the first day of the first month, to sign the Emancipation Proclamation and together we will set the stage and share our vision for celebrating Freedom’s Eve and our Freedom Day Parade,” Harris said.

The play “Black Country” will also be repeated at 4:00 p.m. The day’s event will end with the hosts and participants laying a wreath at the historic Negro Hill Cemetery.

“(This is done) in remembrance and deference to our extended families we have never forgotten, who paid the price to expand the conversation of freedom for people of African ancestry,” Harris said.

“The 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation is essential to understand what it means to be an American,” he concluded.

For more information, call (916) 997-2451.


OBSERVER – Senior Staff Writer