1 January 1863

The Emancipation Proclamation became official on this day in 1863. You can find a copy at the National Archives. This is a powerful document it is the signature document for the First Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, and his very good friend Frederick Douglass.

In Churches across the land these days, we hold a candlelight vigil on New Years Eve, but on 31 December 1862, black churches held their own special vigil, awaiting news of the Emancipation Proclamation becoming the reality of the land. On subsequent 1st of January years, the words were read in black churches across this great land. It would be a good idea I think for people of all colors, black, brown, red, yellow, and white to read this document again. It brought freedom to a people who had been seen as only property in the slave states, it brought recognition of their equality with all the rest of us. There was still more to do, like winning the war in which the country was engaged, the War between the States. Some call it the Civil War, but there was nothing civil about it, nor is war ever civil. War however, is sometimes necessary to right a wrong, this one was. By the time of the war, most states in the north, no longer held slaves, and after the war was completely won, slavery was not a very popular reality, even in those places that had been “exempted” by the proclamation.

Of course there was racism, our country had a terrible time coming to grips with the history of slavery, and even today we do have those who feel that some people are less than others. Personally, I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I want our nation to come to a time when people are judged by their hearts and minds and not by the color of their skin, where people are seen as people, created by God and therefore loved by God.

It requires, however, that all of us are willing to forgo the racist rhetoric, the actions of those who say we need to kill this or that group of people, whether it be “whitey” or “gooks” or any other epithet we choose to use. So let us all wake up to the reality that our creator, created all of creation, that we all descended from one woman, the one who was co-created with the first man the one we call Eve. Until we can understand that none of us is superior at birth, hint, we all come into the world naked and crying, helpless and in need of someone to take care of us. We all will leave this life the same way, dead and helpless as we were at birth. So here we are in the 2013, splintered by political rhetoric into ethnic groups, and rich vs poor groups. The only ones who win this mess are the politicians and lawyers.

It is time for all of us, men and women, no matter our ethnicity, no matter our so-called station in life, to realize one thing. We all live in the world, a fairly small and insignificant place in the overall galaxy and if we don’t learn to live together, we shall surely perish as warring groups, killing each other and destroying our world in the process.

Can we stop this stupidity, and come together as brethren (brothers and sisters), members of humanity, and not different groups who hate the others? That is what God wants us to be, the word he gave us was to love your neighbor as yourself. Do that and you will not be able to harm your neighbor. So let’s give it a try, shall we?
Tell me what you think. Leave a comment, let us start a conversation.

1 Comment

We must also acknowledge that Lincoln personally opposed slavery all his life (even this inescapable truth has been challenged by a smattering of revisionists in recent years). Visiting New Orleans as a young man, he had been horrified by the sight of black men in chains like “fish in a trot line,” as he put it, a vision that tormented him for years. As a legislator in Illinois, he became one of the few to sign a resolution condemning slavery. And in his single term in the House of Representatives, he opposed the American war against Mexico, largely because its Democratic supporters hoped with conquest to acquire new Southern territory ripe for slavery. When Congress struck down the Missouri Compromise in 1854, Lincoln denounced the idea that settlers in America’s new western territories could now vote to import slave labor. At the very least, he insisted, slavery must be limited to those states where it had long existed.


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