Emancipation Day Celebration-Stan Davis




Earlier today, the City of Tampa Black History Committee hosted its fourth annual Florida Emancipation Day celebration at the Greater Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was read, in its entirety, by a group of eight speakers, including Mayor Pam Iorio and Councilman John Dingfelder.

Stan Davis was there and filed this report…

[Roll tape…]


[Actuality 1- The Negro National Anthem]

Tampa is celebrating the 143rd anniversary of the day that Florida’s slaves were informed of their freedom.

It was another two years of the Civil War, though, before that freedom was actually won.

The ceremony began with the presentation of colors by the Woods & Wanton Chapter of Buffalo Soldiers, and was followed by the singing of the Negro National Anthem.

And then Mayor Pam Iorio walked to the podium to preface the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation with these remarks about Lincoln:

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 2- Iorio- “…he started as a very ordinary person in life… in his own words…�]

Iorio was then followed by seven other speakers, each reciting segments of Lincoln’s proclamation.

It fell to former Hillsborough County Commissioner, Pat Frank, to speak those words that changed the United States forever…

[roll tape… ]

[Actuality 3- Pat Frank- “…I do order and declare… and maintain the freedom of such persons.�]

The reading was followed by something of a sermon to the assembled by Dr. Ruby Evans, Associate Director of Diversity Initiatives at the University of Central Florida.

She talked about how kids today just do not grasp the nature of slavery, that the public schools have failed them—have failed children of all colors.

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 4- Evans- “… Slavery is not about… shackles on their minds…�]

She told her audience that it is up to each and everyone of them to secure the freedom their great grandparents were promised, that the story of slavery must be passed from generation to generation…

[roll tape… ]

[Actuality 5- Evans- “… we need to tell… in the public schools�]

And finally wound up with this admonition…

[roll tape… ]

[Actuality 6- Evans- “…we’re losing too many of our children… blame ourselves…�]

Evans left the podium, donations were solicited for a scholarship fund, and the celebration was closed with a benediction.

The crowd was left to ponder both Lincoln’s 143 year old Proclamation of Emancipation as well as the proclamation of Dr. Evans: that freedom is tenuous and can only be attained through education.

For WMNF, I’m Stan Davis

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