Emancipation Proclamation: 150 Year Anniversary

Emancipation Proclamation in the Oval Office

Emancipation Proclamation in the Oval Office

We shout for joy that we live to record this righteous decree.
– Frederick Douglass

As the United States backs away from the fiscal cliff, we also celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

This is my 500th post, and I can’t think of a better or more appropriate topic than the liberation of dignified people from the oppression of slavery.  Slavery is the ultimate abuse of power and subjugation.  Forbes, the ultimate capitalist magazine, opined:

This new age brought an explosion of commerce, with spectacular new industries and products—refineries, electricity, steel, automobiles, airplanes, telephones, etc.  From the ravages of the Civil War, America rose to become the greatest economic power in the world.  The industrial age spurred people to be passionate, creative, brilliant, and more productive and wealth-producing than ever before.  Something unprecedented had happened: Capitalism and freedom had ascended.

True.  But, the robber barons had restored the status quo by the end of the century.  The labor unions regained a balance of power before the Republican party passed a series of laws designed to erode the collective power of employees and the middle class lifestyle.

Today, we have a new form of slavery:  welfare for the politically-powerful greedy 1% who believe that We the People should grant them massive tax breaks in return for creation of poverty-level-wage jobs that force employees to apply for welfare to meet their basic housing, medical, and food needs.

Slavery was wrong in 1863, and it is wrong today too.  I am proud that my ancestors were early leaders of the abolitionist movement.

Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation

Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation

All persons held as slaves. . .henceforward shall be free.
– President Abraham Lincoln
The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t end slavery, but it was the opening volley in a very long and arduous journey to equality.  The 13th Amendment was the next volley followed by the March on Washington 100 years after Lincoln’s bold move.
Sadly, racism is still part of the United States’ culture.  The same is true of misogyny.  Blacks and women must still assert our equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Yet, I sense that this tide is changing.  I believe that 2013 will be a year of great progress.
Freedom isn’t free, but it isn’t always won on the battlefield.  It is won at the ballot box and with the pen.  It is won by courageous people who refuse to yield to oppression and deprivation of their basic rights.  It is won by people who collectively shout, “no more!” and who pledge to strike, dance, and rise on February 14, 2013. 

3 responses to “Emancipation Proclamation: 150 Year Anniversary

  1. Pingback: Welcome 2013: Tips For A Happy Healthy Year! | Mirth and Motivation·

  2. Shortly after the Elizabeth Key trial and similar challenges, in 1662 Virginia passed a law adopting the principle of partus sequitur ventrum (called partus, for short), stating that any children of an enslaved mother would take her status and be born into slavery, regardless if the father were a freeborn Englishman. This institutionalized the power relationships, freed the white men from the legal responsibility to acknowledge or financially support their children, and somewhat confined the open scandal of mixed-race children and miscegenation to within the slave quarters.

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