THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION-
A JUBILEE IN STONE MOUNTAIN
"And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family."
By Doc Lawrence
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-They gathered in this historic village to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Near the place where William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” began, elected officials, clergy, civic leaders and historians shared comments about this momentous piece of world history with Stone Mountain, the mighty monolith, hovering over. Reminiscent of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!” in his “I Have a Dream “ speech, Dr. Hermina Glass-Avery, Associate Director for the Study of the Civil War at Kennesaw State University said during her powerful speech that “today is the third jubilee, a celebration of freedom, an auspicious occasion,” and read the holy words establishing jubilee to the Children of Israel from the book of Leviticus.
|Dr.Hermina Glass-Avery (L), Dr. George Coletti, Mayor Pat Wheeler|
“Every 50 years,” the distinguished educator explained, “is the jubilee commanded in the Old Testament. This year is the third jubilee since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.”
Stone Mountain’s Shermantown community was established after the fall of Atlanta to Union forces towards the end of the Civil War. Today the African-American village within the city is on the National Register of Historic Places and it includes Bethsaida Baptist Church, founded by slaves freed by General Sherman. Stone Mountain Mayor Pat Wheeler read a proclamation honoring Shermantown and their contributions to the spirit of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The event was not without drama. Between each speech, Civil War re-enactors dressed as Union and Confederate soldiers fired a Civil War cannon. At the very end of the reading of Abraham Lincoln’s momentous Proclamation, the blast of thunder from the cannon seemed appropriate: Breaking the shackles, and chains of human bondage makes a mighty roar.
On a frosty morning, freedom was celebrated in this beautiful deep South town. It became a jubilee.