“The Emancipation Proclamation celebration for Bartow County began on Dec. 11, 1929, and has continuously been part of this community,” Committee President Ken Reaves said. “This celebration commemorates the signing and implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation, a document of significant importance to Americans of African decent.
“The Emancipation Proclamation could arguably be called the precursor to the 13th amendment. The program has been able to attract speakers of renown, local and national, since its inception. This list includes speakers, such as the Dr. J.B. Morgan, Dr. Benjamin Mays, Dr. Martin Luther King Sr., Chief Justice Robert Benham and Mrs. Nancy Beasley. The celebration was instituted to help people remember the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
“The first program began about 66 years after the proclamation was signed. I’m sure some of those in attendance for this first meeting were former slaves or the children of former slaves. It’s hard for us to imagine the pulse of our country during this time. The nation was divided on the issue of slavery and in the midst of a terrible civil war. The fact that President Lincoln moved forward with the proclamation, in the face of strong political and public opposition, was a feat of historic proportions.”
He added, “The committee believes that this document not only played a significant role towards the freedom of slaves but also paved the way for other important freedoms all Americans now enjoy. We should never take our freedoms for granted. Hopefully, this celebration helps us to remember the sacrifices so many people made to make our constitution work for all its citizens. The movie ‘Lincoln’ gives a good historic perspective on the political climate concerning this issue.”
The Rev. Michael Teasley will be this year’s guest speaker. Originally from Fayetteville, N.C., Teasley, currently resides in Cartersville with his wife, Kristie, and son Christian.
“[Teasley] is a past military man and served with the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division,” Reaves said. “He is a business entrepreneur. He holds an Associate of Arts degree in Christian Ministry from Atlanta Christian College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry from Point University. He is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in business management from Kennesaw State University.”
Rev. Teasley recently was installed as pastor for Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Cartersville.