Skip to comments.Event brings home true meaning of Jubilee Day (NAACP leaders on the Emancipation Proclamation)
Posted on 01/02/2009 8:15:20 AM PST by Between the Lines
They had hoped to celebrate freedom -- freedom for blacks once bound by chains of slavery.
What the 100 people who gathered for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's annual Emancipation Proclamation program Thursday got was a wake-up call and a history lesson.
President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation 146 years ago had less to do with freedom and more to do with a need to beef up Union forces during the Civil War, Lonnie Randolph said.
"The Emancipation Proclamation really didn't do anything," the state NAACP president said from Rock Hill's Agape International Ministries. "We look at this as a day of freedom. It really didn't free anyone."
"Jubilee Day" is held annually in black churches in remembrance of Lincoln's Jan. 1, 1863, signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The document long has been hailed as the end of slavery and thus freedom for blacks.
"We celebrate for the wrong reason," Randolph said. "It was a military decision. Folks need to be told the true meaning of this event. This was strictly to free black men, those 250,000 who fought. It gave them the right to fight."
Those black men joined the Union to fight in the Civil War, he said.
"They didn't even receive pay, but they fought anyway," Randolph said.
Slavery was outlawed in 1808, but liberty for black soldiers and other blacks was a long time coming, he said.
"I wonder what was on Lincoln's mind when he signed it," Randolph said of the proclamation. "Why didn't he say, 'Ya'll free today?' Why was there a Sabbatical?
"I know what the thinking was. There was a battle. The Confederates were winning."
After the Civil War ended, slaves disguised as prisoners or indentured servants were forced to work, Randolph said.
"History is a truthteller," he said. "When you know history, you know truth, and you indeed will be free.
"Folks need to know what's more important is what we do today to ensure that the next generation has an opportunity to participate in the process."
Outgoing Rock Hill NAACP president Herb Crump weighed in on Jubilee Day and the Emancipation Proclamation.
"It was freedom on paper, not freedom in practice," he said.
"We need to be real," the Rev. William Buie Jr. said. "It's good to have Barack Obama as president, but so what? Now what? We're still in slavery.
"We need to stop lying to ourselves. We need to be emancipated. We have some problems we need to deal with."
Randolph agreed one problem is the deficiency in education, particularly in the "Corridor of Shame" -- the impoverished counties that roughly parallel Interstate 95 in eastern South Carolina.
In one school, he said, the heat was cut off. At another school, students received computers that read, "To be used by inmates only." Another school recently received its first vacuum cleaner, while still another school had leaking roofs.
"These are our children," Randolph said. "We have a failing community. We fail when we allow them to come home without books. We fail when we show up at football games but not PTA meetings. We should not allow our children to be used and stigmatized."
Still, he said, to combat the seen and unseen slavery, obtaining an education is a must.
"If you want to stay on a slave plantation, don't go to school," he said.
Melvin Poole, current president of the Rock Hill NAACP, challenged blacks to remember their past as they embrace their future.
"Jubilee Day is the commencement of the freeing of the slaves," he said, "It is to remind us of where we came from and that the journey is not over. We still have work to do."
"It was freedom on paper, not freedom in practice," -- Rock Hill NAACP president
Anything to not give the Republican Party proper credit for ending the Democratic Party’s institution of slavery.
Poor guy has his historical facts terribly wrong.
“”This was strictly to free black men, those 250,000 who fought. It gave them the right to fight.”
Those black men joined the Union to fight in the Civil War, he said.
“They didn’t even receive pay, but they fought anyway,” Randolph said.
Slavery was outlawed in 1808, but liberty for black soldiers and other blacks was a long time coming, he said.””
“I wonder what was on Lincoln’s mind when he signed it,” Randolph said of the proclamation. “Why didn’t he say, ‘Ya’ll free today?’ Why was there a Sabbatical?
“I know what the thinking was. There was a battle. The Confederates were winning.”
Rubbish. Read Lincoln’s reasons—he had promised God that he would free the slaves, and he kept his promise.
Freeing them actually meant that the South would thereafter never accept peace terms; it was an end to hopes for a compromise end to the war.
Apparently Harry Reid is not aware of this...........
This guy is lying. What was made illegal in 1808 was the importation of slaves, not the institution of slavery which was and remains the central foundation of the Democratic Party.
The Proclamation did not end any slavery in Union states that allowed it. Nor did it end any slavery in Confederate states that did not recognize Lincoln as their president. The end of slavery in the USA began on 04/09/1865 with the surrender of Lee to Grant. That is what should be celebrated if you want to commemorate the end of slavery in the USA.
Further evidence of “publik skool edjoocashun”...
What a bunch of ingrates.
black leaders and the dem party both would be out of jobs if the folks realized the truth.
Keep moving those goal posts. Whitey will owe you transfer payments for the next 100 years.
Probably because Lincoln was an educated man, and not some ignorant, race-baiting lout.
That is not accurate either. As Union troops moved through the south (those areas "in rebellion" specified by Lincoln in the EP) during the war, millions of slaves were indeed freed under the terms of the emancipation proclamation. Slavery as a legal institution did not end until the final ratification of the 13th Amendment in December of 1865.
“History is a truthteller,” he said. “When you know history, you know truth, and you indeed will be free.”
This may be a little off topic,but I have to ask...Where is all this concern for what’s truthful,and what’s history,and what freedom is, when it comes to the War on Terror? Maybe this guy can stand up at a podium at some ANSWER rally and speak these words on behalf of all who fight and die and continue to fight to free people we never even met,and to improve the quality of their lives,and give them freedom and dignity.
(Wow. I really gotta stop drinking the bong water.I’m talking crazy!)
Yep, there are plenty more slaves in America to be freed. They can start with the 30-40% of my salary that I'm mandated to pay to the Gov't every year.
Is that what they meant?
I’m currently reading the book “War Crimes Committed Against Southern Civilians” and my opinion of Lincoln is that he is a war criminal. What he knowing allowed and encouraged against unarmed people and freed slaves is unforgivable.
“The Emancipation Proclamation really didn’t do anything,” — South Carolina NAACP president
Internally, it transformed the conflict from being about “succession from the Union” into a crusade against slavery. Recall that before the Proclamation, Lincoln had said that if he could save the Union by freeing all the slaves, none of the slaves, or just part of the slaves, he would. After two years of war, and ever increasing casualties, enthusiasm for “saving the Union” was waning. So making the conflict about ending slavery was a public relations ploy ... that worked. His critics at the time noted that the Proclamation did not free slaves where he was in control (e.g., Maryland), and purported to free slaves in places where he did not control, so it was “just words”.
On the other hand, externally his Proclamation made it impossible for England (and hence France) to support the South, because they were absolutely against Slavery, and would not be seen as supporting Slavery.
So, even though it freed not one slave at the time, it did seal the doom of the South ... and hence slavery.
It was the key instrument in attempting to ensure that after the union won the war there would be no doubt that the slaves were free and that their freedom would not be legally contested.
It was a sharp stick in the eye for the party of slavery. The slaves at the time understood that; their decendants seem completely ignorant of the complicity of the democrat party before and after the civil war in keeping them enslaved.
“That is not accurate either. As Union troops moved through the south (those areas “in rebellion” specified by Lincoln in the EP) during the war, millions of slaves were indeed freed under the terms of the emancipation proclamation. Slavery as a legal institution did not end until the final ratification of the 13th Amendment in December of 1865.”
You are absolutely correct, Ditto. What many people fail to understand about Lincoln was that, in his view, his primary responsibility as President was to protect not only the Constitution of the United States, not only the territorial integrity of the United States, but also to protect it from political threats that would lead to its destruction. For him it was not the issue of slavery that threatened the existence of the United States - no, for him it was “secession”, the idea that a state could simply vote itself out of the Union, that was the primary enemy. In Lincoln’s view, if secession were permitted, as practiced by the southern states, then the United States would ultimately cease to exist and would become, in effect, another Europe with every state being an individual country.
That this was what would happen was even demonstrated by some of the states in the Confederacy, who threatened to seceed from the Confederate States if Jefferson Davis enacted laws they didn’t agree with. So, first and formost, one must understand that for Lincoln, secession was the real enemy to the integrity and preservation of the United States.
While critics of Lincoln are partly correct when they say that the Proclamation was merely “freedom on paper”, they fail to understand that Lincoln still knew that, as President, he did not have the authority to abolish slavery - only congress and the amendment process could do that. He could not legally use it against states that were still a part of the Union - how could he? Those states were not at war with the United States.
However, it was within his power as commander-in-chief to impose the Proclamation as a military measure against those states that were in rebellion. The Proclamation was a valuable military measure in that it weakened the Confederacy in logistical manpower by giving southern slaves even more reason to leave the south and escape to the North, it gave new impetus in raising troops for the war and it gave Lincoln the political and moral high ground in the minds of the rest of the world that the war was now being fought to end slavery and not just to restore the Union. England and France understood this and therefore, largely because of this Proclamation, refused to recognize the Confederacy, because to do so would now be a tacit acknowledgement of supporting human slavery. This had the practical effect of forcing the Confederacy into the position of winning their War for Independence by themselves without any tangible support from European nations.
Everyone at the time, including Lincoln, abolisionist leaders, his cabinet, the people of both northern and southern states, and the rest of the world, knew that the signing of this act, limited though it was, was, in effect, the beginning of the formal and practical end to the institution of slavery in the United States. The Southern press and the Confederate leaders railed against the act for that very reason.
Therefore, it is appropriate to celebrate the signing of the Proclamation. Anyone who knows history and looks at it fairly understands that it did indeed mark the beginning of the legal end to the insitutution of slavery. I believe Lincoln did the right thing at the right time and for the right reasons. If you look at the military and political climate of the day fairly, I think you will come to the same conclusion.