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Jan 2, 2013 9:37 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village To Celebrate Emancipation Proclamation's 150th Anniversary On Saturday

Jan 2, 2013 10:05 AM

Bells will be ringing on Saturday at Southampton Village’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The famous executive order, which was given by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, is celebrated as the first national call to end slavery and ensure freedom for all people.

At the corner of Jobs Lane and Main Street, in front of the First Presbyterian Church of Southampton, a choir of bells will ring out at 1 p.m. Community members young and old are invited to bring their own bells to join in the cacophony of chimes, listen to a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, sit in on a community roundtable discussion and enjoy an afternoon of jazz, poetry and food provided by several Southampton delis and restaurants.

Starting just after the community bell-ringing, the First Presbyterian Church bell choir will perform “Let Freedom Ring,” followed by the opening of the ceremony with few words from Carol T. Spencer, a former librarian and the founder of Diaspora Books.

The proclamation will be read aloud by seven Southampton-based clergymen and will also be discussed in depth at a roundtable discussion with Ms. Spencer starting at 2 p.m. at the Rogers Mansion. Panelists Joan Baum, an author and retired professor of the City University of New York and Marymount College, Natalie P. Byfield, an author and a professor at St. John’s University, William Picken III, a historian and founder of the Montier Family Association, and Gloria Grant Roberson, a staff member at Adelphi and Hofstra universities, will provide insight and commentary as well.

According to Southampton Historical Museum Executive Director Tom Edmonds, who has helped plan the event with the Rogers Memorial Library since the summer, the following houses of worship and organizations are cosponsoring the celebration: the First Presbyterian Church, the Southampton Chamber of Commerce, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the African American Museum of the East End and Diaspora Books. Ms. Spencer, who will lead the discussion, has “her finger on the pulse of academia,” according to Mr. Edmonds, and knows all the pluses and minuses of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Ms. Spencer said she expects the discussion to be informative, but also a little controversial.

“First of all, the Emancipation Proclamation itself was not the end of slavery,” she said. “Why we celebrate it is because its what led to it. It was done for a couple of reasons: it was to undermine the economy of the Confederacy and its ability to win the Civil War, and made abolition of slavery an official goal.”

President Lincoln was against slavery primarily because he opposed poverty and believed in economic freedom, she said. While 50,000 slaves in the Confederate territory were free when President Lincoln gave his order, slaves across the country didn’t see relief until December 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment took effect, outlawing slavery forever.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Brenda Simmons, the director of the African American Museum of the East End and assistant to Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, will kick off the jazz and poetry celebration. Live jazz will be provided by Charles Certain & Co. and poems will be read aloud by Ms. Simmons, Ajiah Jones and Robert “Bubbee” Brown.

“We have such an awesome history in our culture, and it will be awesome to share with all,” Ms. Simmons said. “Everyone can embrace and enjoy it.”

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I would like to commend the Village of Southampton, Mayor Mark Epley and all of its citizens for recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Emanicpation Proclamation. It will be glorious day for the village and Southampton at large.
This important day should be celcbrated all across the United States.
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Jan 2, 13 4:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Perhaps a few selections from Frederick Douglass will be read as well?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 3, 13 6:31 PM
By 27dan (2854), Southampton on Jan 5, 13 11:02 PM