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3487Re: The Gallipolis, Ohio- "Emancipation Proclamation" Celebration

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  • Heather
    Dec 2, 2007
      Thanks for this article=)

      When I saw the post, I knew I had to read it!

      We, currently, live in WV... not far from the WV/OH border, and
      it really is one of the more "difficult" areas to enbrace change.

      It's been really tough for, both, my son and I, as we've lived
      in a much more accepting part of OH, as well as MD (B'more).

      The area where we live is truly "old south."

      Thankfully, we belong to a very open and caring religious
      community which is very accepting of everyone- no matter what
      you look like/who you are=) That has helped us tremendously.

      As for the music post... my son is into rap (which I'm not
      much of a fan of anymore- some of the more "lighter" stuff,
      maybe), hip-hop and R&B. He enjoys some pop- not much
      (same for today's, alternative/rock music!).

      As for me... I enjoy R&B (my fave=), some ("less explicit")
      hip-hop, latin, some pop, some rock (the 80's, mainly=), some
      (very little) opera, some classical (little) and some country
      (very little). I absolutely will not listen to heavy metal
      (annoying!) or any music with very explicit lyrics.

      That's about it=)

      Anyhow... thanks, again, for the post=)


      --- In Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com,
      "multiracialbookclub" <soaptalk@...> wrote:

      Emancipation Proclamation
      Anniversary Celebration

      [Emancipation Proclamation Anniversary Celebration]
      Image Details
      This broadside announces that "the Colored People
      of Preble County, recognizing the blessings of Liberty,
      will celebrate the 18th anniversary
      of their deliverance from bondage"
      in Eaton on September 22, 1881.

      The noted speaker at the event
      was the Reverend W. F. Arnett
      of Nashville, Tennessee

      A significant topic of concern at the event
      was likely the assassination of Ohio-born
      President James A. Garfield, which
      occurred three days earlier.

      Image Title:
      Emancipation Proclamation Anniversary Celebration
      Image Source:
      The Ohio Historical Society

      Gallipolis, OH
      -- by Lynn Wasnak

      Freedom has been celebrated in Gallia County, Ohio,
      for 137 years and has special meaning to the
      celebrants—many of whom are descendents
      of freed, runaway, and emancipated slaves.

      Each September since 1863, African-Americans
      have gathered in Gallipolis (pop. 4,180) to
      commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation
      issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862.

      The Emancipation, as the celebration is commonly
      called, is reported to be the longest continuous
      running event of its kind in the United States.

      It features speeches of remembrance
      and inspiration, gospel and folk music
      —and most of all, a place for people to
      come together to recall their common ancestry.

      "It's like what Marcus Garvey said,
      `A people without a knowledge of their
      past is like a tree without roots',"
      says Robert Lawson, who grew up in
      Oak Hill, 20 miles west of Gallipolis.
      "To be anything or go anywhere,
      you need to know where you came from
      and how difficult the struggles were."

      Last year, Lawson, a management consultant
      in Portsmouth, Ohio, brought his two youngest
      children, James and Michael, to the event
      to share his childhood experience.

      [The Gallia County residents who are of
      the African-American Ethnic Grouping have
      held onto the tradition through strong family
      ties and relationships with local churches.

      "The people here are secluded in a
      way many other communities aren't.

      So knowing your heritage matters,"
      says Adah Ward Randolph, a professor
      at Ohio University in Athens, leafing through
      dozens of three-ring binders spread on
      tables at the Gallia County Fairgrounds.

      Barbara Scott, 70, assembled 35 of the large
      binders—packed with photos, news clippings,
      historical documents, and memorabilia—herself.

      She began compiling the information in 1983
      to help her son learn about his grandparents,
      and soon the project turned into an
      extensive history of African-Americans
      in Gallia County.

      "I remember one year a young man came.
      He'd been trying to find his people for a long time,"
      Scott recalls. "Looking through one of my books,
      suddenly he stopped, pointed at a picture,
      and said, `Here is my grandmother!'
      Tears just started running down his face."

      Respect for the past—and past struggles—
      keeps event organizers determined to continue.

      Before the Civil War, Gallia County was a haven
      for the Mixed-Race children of slaves, says Alice
      Conner Coleman, a Chicago resident who comes
      every year to learn more about her father's ancestors.

      "They kept them in groups to be safe," she explains.

      Many so-called "blacks"
      in the county are light-skinned,
      like Tijana Justice Mullins,
      an attractive, curly-haired blonde
      who lives on part of the Lambert
      Lands, 20 miles north of Gallipolis.

      Three brothers, Virginia plantation owners,
      bought the land for their freed slaves in the 1840s.

      As a child, Mullins accompanied her
      Mixed-Race parents to The Emancipation.

      Later, she brought her own daughter,
      Standela, to the celebration.

      Today, Standela, grown and married, sings slave songs
      —handed down over the generations—on the main stage.

      Escaped slaves found refuge in Gallia County, too.

      Scott recalls the story of Mary
      Agnes Wilson, a young "black"
      woman crying on a Southern plantation,
      afraid she'd be sold to another plantation.
      "A soldier, Joseph Smith, said,
      `No, I love you. I won't let you be sold.'

      Crossing the Ohio River at Point
      Pleasant, he carried her to freedom.

      They settled in Buck Ridge and
      became my great-grandparents."

      Family ties and history draw
      some; still others come for the food.

      "Oh yeah! Whatever you could want," Herman
      Mayo says, his eyes lighting up like sparklers.
      "... A lady I know fries fish up.
      There's corn bread, chicken, bean dinners."

      Not to mention the cream pies, cakes, and cobblers.

      Best of all, Emancipation feeds the soul.

      [American Profile] <http://www.americanprofile.com/>

      printer friendly version

      Lynn Wasnak is a freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio

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