At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington
The year 2013 marks two important anniversaries in the history of African Americans and the United States. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation set the United States on the path of ending slavery. A wartime measure issued by President Abraham Lincoln, the proclamation freed relatively few slaves, but it fueled the fire of the enslaved to strike for their freedom. In many respects, Lincoln’s declaration simply acknowledged the epidemic of black self-emancipation – spread by black freedom crusaders like Harriet Tubman – that already had commenced beyond his control. Those in bondage increasingly streamed into the camps of the Union Army, reclaiming and asserting self-determination. The result, abolitionist Fredrick Douglass predicted, was that the war for the Union became a war against slavery. The actions of both Lincoln and the slaves made clear that the Civil War was in deed, as well as in theory, a struggle between the forces of slavery and emancipation. The full-scale dismantlement of the “peculiar institution” of human bondage had begun.

In 1963, a century later, America once again stood at the crossroads. Nine years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had outlawed racial segregation in public schools, but the nation had not yet committed itself to equality of citizenship. Segregation and innumerable other forms of discrimination made second‐class citizenship the extra‐constitutional status of non‐whites. Another American president caught in the gale of racial change, John F. Kennedy, temporized over the legal and moral issue of his time. Like Lincoln before him, national concerns, and the growing momentum of black mass mobilization efforts, overrode his personal ambivalence toward demands for black civil rights.

On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans, blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, marched to the memorial of Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, in the continuing pursuit of equality of citizenship and self-determination. It was on this occasion that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech.

Just as the Emancipation Proclamation had recognized the coming end of slavery, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom announced that the days of legal segregation in the United States were numbered.

Marking the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History invites papers, panels, and roundtables on these and related topics of black emancipation, freedom, justice and equality, and the movements that have sought to achieve these goals. Submissions may focus on the historical periods tied to the 2013 theme, their precursors and successors, and other past and contemporary moments across the breadth of African American history.

Courtesy of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History at www.asalh.org.
 

  • December 25, 2017
    Merry Christmas
    Galatians 4:4-5
    But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
  • January 1, 2018
    Happy New Year
    2 Corinthians 5:17
    Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away, behold, all things are become new!
  • January 15, 2018
    Martin Luther King Jr Day
    The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday is a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community. Visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday for more information.
  • February 12-16, 2018
    Board of Bishops' and International Ministers & Lay Association Meeting
    Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel
    235 East Main Street
    Norfolk, VA
    Register by February 5, 2018!
  • February 14, 2018
    Ash Wednesday
    Ash Wednesday is always celebrated on a Wednesday seven weeks prior to Easter Sunday. For Christians, the day marks the first day of Lent and the starting of 6 weeks of fasting and penance.
  • February 14-March 29, 2018
    Lent
    Lent begins on Ash Wednesday each year and for Christians starts the 40 day period of fasting. The day represents the 40 days Jesus spend fasting in the wilderness.
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    Valentine's Day
    We love because he first loved us 1 John 4:19
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    Daylight Savings Time
    Spring forward - Turn your clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. local standard time (At 2 a.m. on March 11th, the clocks after they are moved forward an hour, will read 3 a.m. local daylight time).

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