Thursday, February 14, 2013

1863 to 1963 to 2013

When he established Negro History Week in 1926, Dr Carter Woodson realised the importance of providing a theme that would focus the attention of the public The Association for the Study of African American Life and History designated the theme for the 2013 Black History Month as the celebration of the 150th and 50th anniversary of two African American turning points: the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington.

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, declared that slaves in all confederate states then at war with the Union were "forever free" and made them eligible for paid military service in the Union Army. Although it did not end slavery in the nation, it did transform the character of the war. After the Proclamation was made, every advance of Federal troops expanded the domain of freedom, and black men were allowed to serve in the Union armed services. By the end of the war almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for freedom.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on August 28, 1963 in Washington, DC. More than 200,000 demonstrators took part in the walk. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his I Have a Dream speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, noting that the Emancipation Proclamation gave hope to black slaves. The following year Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a concrete step of fulfilling the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation.

A good way to celebrate Black History Month is to learn more about these two major events in our history - and especially to educate our young people about their significance. What better place to learn than your Library. Come in to see all that we have to offer and bring children with you.

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