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Large crowd attends annual Emancipation Service

Large crowd attends annual Emancipation Service
January 09
09:48 2020

Six students receive $1,000 scholarships

More than 100 people brought in the New Year reflecting on the past and looking toward the future during the annual Emancipation Service held last week. 

Every year on New Year’s Day, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emancipation Association holds a ceremony to remember the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. The service is held at a different church every year and this year it was held at New Bethel Baptist Church where Rev. Dr. Kendall Jones is the pastor. Rev. Jones also delivered the keynote address. 

While addressing the congregation on Wednesday morning, Jones discussed slavery and how some are still barred by the “psychological chains” that it created and how it still exists today. He said, “Here on the first day of 2020 we celebrate the emancipation of 3.5 million slaves. While we sit here celebrating emancipation, there are more today who are mentally shackled by the residue of slavery on both sides of the equation.” 

Jones, who is a native of Little Rock, Ark., said despite lingering effects of slavery, we have the power to overcome. He said race is only the pigment of one’s skin and to overcome those lingering effects, the African American community needs to adopt a new mindset and value system. He also encouraged the crowd to do their part to ensure that the young people in our community know that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. 

“Rev. Dr. James Cone, a black liberation leader out of Arkansas, said the oppressed can take the value system of the oppressor or the oppressed can set his or her own value system,” Jones continued. “If we do to others what others have done to us, then we’re no better than the others. My Bible says do justly and love mercifully, that is the will of God.”

Although Jones delivered the keynote address, Judge Denise Hartsfield read the Emancipation Proclamation aloud, and several elected officials spoke and encouraged citizens to exercise their right to vote. The highlight of the service came toward the end when seven students from local high schools received $1,000 scholarships. According to Dan Piggott, longtime member of the Emancipation Association, it was the most scholarships they have awarded since the service was established. Scholarship recipients were Najashi Belchor, Allen Choyce, LaJada Flowers, Darian Lowe, Taylor Martin, Stephen Minor and Todd Ryan.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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