In the frigid air a crowd gathers on the steps of Amherst’s Town Hall to read the Emancipation Proclamation on its 150th anniversary.
At 2 O’Clock on January 1st, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the act. It freed about 3.1 million slaves in the Confederate states, and those enslaved in the 10 states still in rebellion.150 years later the act has prompted Governor Deval Patrick to recognize the day statewide.
It wasn’t easy organizing the event, it took 6 months to put it together. “The origin started in Florence, with a group of us from The Ruggles Center and The Sojourner Truth Committee. With the Governor’s Proclamation showing it up, to get the entire state to become involved in ringing the bells,” Reynolds Winslow shared.
Community members recognize the importance of this monumental time in our history, and come out and be a part of their own. “It means a lot. It’s really fun, and, cold,” 9-Year-Old Monica Cage said. “To also know we are living history and that this is history in the making as community members coming together,” her mother, Vira Cage added. “The legacy of slavery, we’ll never be free of it. And we all have our part to do to set things right. And we all have our part to do to set things right,” Andy Morris-Friedman stated.
President Obama recognized the milestone with a written proclamation on Monday.