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Emancipation Proclamation observance Jan. 1
State Rep. Billy Mitchell
One of the oldest traditions in the history of Liberty County is the annual Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day celebration program on New Year's Day.
The 2008 Emancipation Proclamation Observance was hosted at the Powerhouse of Deliverance Church on Airport Road in Hinesville. Bishop Raymond Napper is the host pastor for this year’s celebration.
This celebration commemorates the signing of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Liberty County, with its rich history, is one of the few counties in Georgia that still has an Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day program. This historical celebration began at the Crossroads in Riceboro and has been passed down from generation to generation.  
It is an eagerly awaited event in the African-American community. People have always gathered for this celebration at noon on New Year’s Day.
Year after year, people from across the community come to hear good singing, dynamic speakers, and to reflect and further educate themselves on their rich heritage.  
The year’s speaker is the Honorable Billy Mitchell, state representative from Georgia's 88th Legislative District. Mitchell’s district includes most of Stone Mountain, parts of Tucker and Lithonia in DeKalb County, and parts of Gwinnett County.
Mitchell is currently in his second term and serves on various committees in the House of Representative. Presently, he serves as a member of the powerful Health and Human Services committee, the Regulated Industries committee, and the State Planning and Community Affairs committee. His rapid rise in the state legislature has been recognized by his colleagues.
In his second term, he was selected to receive the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus’ “Legislator of the Year” award.
Professionally, Rep. Mitchell serves as director of Government Relations for Charter Communications, a Fortune 500 company, which is the fourth-largest cable television operator in America. He also serves as host of the radio talk show, “Community Forum with Billy Mitchell.” This broadcast is aired on 91.9 FM (WCLK) and has a growing audience of more than 120,000 listeners.
A dynamic public speaker and writer, Mitchell has authored several articles that have appeared in various newspapers and magazines. He has served as a lecturer at Kennesaw State University, Burris Institute for Elected Officials, and Clark Atlanta University.
Additionally, he is a contributor to the best-selling book, “Keeping the Faith — Stories of Love, Courage, Healing and Hope” by author, radio and television personality Tavis Smiley.
For more information about the Liberty County Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day program, call the Rev. Hermon Scott (committee president) at 368-2258 or Lana Walthour at 369-3407.
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