Emancipation Association of Montgomery Celebrates Freedom on New Year’s Day


By Mikala McCurry

The Emancipation Association of Montgomery, led by local historian Richard Bailey, brings awareness to the progress that has been made in the nation with African Americans and the progress that still needs to be made. Richard Bailey has served as the president of the organization for more than twenty years.

In 1866 the Montgomery was the site of the state’s first emancipation celebration. Since that cold day, the annual observance has been regarded as one of the best such programs in the South.

“We often celebrate the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the march from Selma to Montgomery, but we don’t really celebrate events from a hundred years ago, like the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation,” Bailey explained. At the first celebration Holland Thompson encouraged his fellows to minimize our religious differences and “to acquire land, homes, and education for their children.” Concerns regarding the ballot were voiced.

The organization will host its annual Emancipation Day celebration program on January 1, 2023. This annual celebration commemorates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by former President Abraham Lincoln to outlaw slavery. Previous speakers have included such civil rights icons as Andrew Young, Atty. Fred D. Gray, Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, and Reverends Martin Luther King Jr. and Sr.

The guest speaker for the 2023 celebration will be Reverend Freeman Ray III, pastor of First Baptist Church on North Ripley Street. The event will be held at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church on New Year’s Day at 4pm. Nancy Hogan, a student at Jefferson Davis High School, will read the proclamation.

“The community will see outstanding seniors from our high schools being recognized as the future leaders of our state and country,” Bailey explained. “They can also look forward to a very powerful speaker.”

Due to the pandemic, everyone will be required to social distance and to wear coverings for their noses and mouths.

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