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Emancipation Proclamation ceremony in Long
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“It’s a mighty good day,” the Rev. Bobby Hall said Jan. 1 as he spoke to those who had gathered for an Emancipation Proclamation observance at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Ludowici.
Speaking from the topic “Real Freedom,” Hall, who is pastor of St. Peter’s Baptist Church in Waycross, said “there’s always a price to pay for freedom.”
He noted many people paid that price with their lives.
“I am convinced a lot of people lost their lives so we could be here today to celebrate this historical event,” Hall said.
He spoke from John 8:31-36, and read a few quotes from the transcript of the proclamation that freed many slaves in 1863.
But he noted, “Before President Lincoln gave his speech, the Bible said that whoever the son sets free is free indeed.”
The Rev. Dr. James Evans, pastor of St. James, said Long County has come a long way.
“I think of when our people were in the cotton fields and now we have members of the community like Dr. Delores Mallard, principal of Long County High School, and Florence Baggs, who sits on the school board. This also reminds me of the late Deacon Willie Glover, who was an elected official.”
Before, Hall's message, Evans led the audience in singing, “Walk with me.”
Ann Thompson, a Long County educator, reminded the audience their ancestors were people of faith and prayer.
“We can celebrate freedom as a beginning to a richer life,” she said.
St. James Choir, the Long County High Chorus sang and soloist Frances Daley provided the music and Mary Hamilton did a reading.
Several citizens in the community were presented awards, including Barnie Mae Porter and Clinton Richardson who were recognized for being over 90 years of age.
Awards presented to those for church and community service were Delores Mallard, Deeotha Johnson, Willie F. Johnson. John L. Jones, Frances Daley, Mary Hamilton, Zenith Frazier, Lamar Tillman, Ava Cox, Christine Welcome, Barnard Berry, Paul Bailey, Jean Moore, Mildred Elder, Robert Flowers, Lisa Flowers, Joe Roundtree, Carolyn Tillman, Lizzie Mae Lewis and Christine Bailey.
Evans charged the audience of 50 to take full advantage of opportunities but reminded them to be mindful that because we are free, some are still in slavery.
“Freedom is a golden opportunity to live your life for God,” Evans said.
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