Liberty County is preparing to celebrate another Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day. This county is one of the few counties in Georgia that still observes the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Many years ago, the Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day celebration started in the Crossroads community in Riceboro. A very special day in the African-American community, each year the celebration draws a crowd.
As a precursor to the Emancipation celebration, African-Americans gather in their churches on New Year’s Eve to ring in the New Year with watch night services. A few hours later, they come together again on New Year’s Day for the observance.
This year’s program is set for noon Saturday, Jan. 1, at Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church in Allenhurst. Good Shepherd is under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. C.L. Anderson.
The Rev. Thurmond N. Tillman of First African Baptist Church in Savannah is this year’s keynote speaker. First African is the oldest congregation of African-Americans in America. The theme for the Emancipation is, "Lest we forget."
"It is a tremendous honor to be chosen as the speaker. I look forward to sharing with the people of Liberty County and surrounding communities. It is important that we remember the struggle and sacrifices that have been made down through the years, not just for African-Americans, but they were made to make American a better place to live," Tillman said.
He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice and a minor in business management from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton. He also attended and graduated from the Interdenominational Theological Center Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta with a master’s of divinity degree and a dual concentration in Bible and Christian education.
Tillman is the president of the Congress of Christian Education for the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia. He is also the convener of a Hundred Black Churches Connected, an effort to assist ex-offenders of Georgia’s "two strikes, you’re out" legislation. Tillman is the chairman of Savannah Technical College’s board of directors. He is also a member of the Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire board of directors, founder and CEO of AMEN Enterprises and chairman of the board for George Leile Visions, a nonprofit corporation assisting individuals with employment training. Tillman is also a moderator of Clergymen in Action.
For more information about the Liberty County Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day, call committee president the Rev. Hermon Scott at 368-2258 or publicity chairperson Lana Walthour at 369-3407.
Anderson is the author of "Lack of Knowledge" and "Dare to Soar."