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Emancipation Proclamation service Friday

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POSTED: December 28, 2009 9:58 a.m.
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Rev. S. Dyann Robertson

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It has been many years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, but it is something that people still pause to celebrate. Liberty County is one of a few counties in Georgia that still observes the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
This celebration started at the Crossroads community in Riceboro and still draws a crowd each year. It has always been a special day in the African-American community.
On New Year’s Eve, African-Americans celebrate Watch Night services in their various churches and then gather on New Year’s Day for the Emancipation Proclamation Observance.
The Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day 2010 program will be at noon Friday at First Zion Baptist Church in Riceboro. First Zion is under the leadership of Rev. Frederick McIver. The theme for the Emancipation is, "Embracing Change with a Spirit of Unity."
Each year, a different speaker is selected to deliver the Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day message. The Rev. S. Dyann Robertson, pastor of Thebes African Methodist Episcopal Church, Midway, is the guest speaker for the 2010 Emancipation Proclamation Observance Program.
“I am honored to be the guest speaker for the Emancipation celebration, and feel highly favored,” Robertson said. “I know there were many other people who could have been asked.
"When I think of slavery, I am reminded of Richard Lovelace's poem, To Althea from Prison. In the poem, he wrote, 'Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.'  Although he was in prison, he did not allow his circumstances to imprison his mind and he had peace within.
"Prior to the signing of the Emancipation, people were in slavery, but many of them did not allow their condition to keep them from dreaming of a better day. Physically, they were enslaved, but (like Lovelace) they did not allow their circumstances to imprison their minds. You can be anything God wants you to be," she said.
Robertson is a longtime member of Thebes AME, and was ordained an itinerant elder in the 2001 (Old) Georgia Annual Conference.  She was appointed to serve as pastor in September 2005 and is the church's first female pastor.
She is a graduate of Talladega College, Talladega, Ala., with a bachelor’s of arts degree in psychology. She earned a master’s degree in middle grades education from Armstrong Atlantic State University and is pursuing a master's degree in curriculum and instructions. She also has a certificate from Savannah Technical College in marketing management.
Robertson has worked in the education field for more than 22 years and taught children for six years and adults for 16. She worked for the Fort Stewart Army Education Center as an academic coordinator and an academic facilitator. She has also tutored students in various subjects for many years.  
In addition to great singing, and an inspiring message, selected individuals from the community will be recognized for their public service work. One of the Emancipation Proclamation Observance Committee's 2009 scholarship recipients will also read the Emancipation Proclamation.
For more information about observance, you can call the Rev. Hermon Scott, committee president, at 368-2258, or Lana Walthour, publicity chairwoman, at 369-3407.

 

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