Emancipation Proclamation

Recent Articles

Documentary to tell the story of Juneteenth

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Although Lee Jordan has been working on it for some time now, the local filmmaker’s recent meeting with a local film group virtually has confirmed that his preliminary plans for a documentary on Juneteenth have not been in vain. There are 43 states, including Minnesota, that annually celebrates Juneteenth in mid-to-late June, notes Jordan. It is considered the oldest known celebration that recognizes the end of slavery in the United States. Even though President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863, some historians say that it was purposely withheld by slaveholders to keep their slaves on plantations in southern states such as Texas but on June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read the executive order to the already freed slaves, who celebrated the news on “Juneteenth.”

Ever since, it was regularly celebrated for many years, then faded away during the Depression years. The Black holiday later saw resurgence in the late 1960s, and became an official state holiday in Texas in 1980. Continue Reading →

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Race matters in efforts to curb gun violence

Group seeks to ‘reframe’ the debate to address racial disparities
By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer


Leroy Duncan is an organizer with Protect Minnesota, a group of advocates, community leaders, activists and organizers committed to finding solutions to gun violence. Duncan says it is time for the gun violence debate to be reframed as a social justice issue. “Reframing gun violence as a racial justice issue is essential to solving issues of gun violence,” said Duncan. “Race has historically played a massive role in gun rights in this country. Slavery prohibited gun ownership for Black people, as well as the right to education and the right to vote.”

Citing the Emancipation Proclamation and the Black Codes passed in the South after the Civil War, which Duncan explained “prohibited freed slaves from owning firearms,” he maintains that “All the way back to slavery, this issue has mattered” and that “Moving forward, it’s only continued to matter.”

It matters, Duncan says, in the sense that “We’re seeing outrageous numbers of homicides. Continue Reading →

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March on Washington – 50 years later

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set the stage for the environmental justice movement

I  was not alive August 28, 1963. The March on Washington was held 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and eight years to the date of the lynching of Emmett Till. Being inquisitive, I look for clues in history that might lead to our freedom from oppression. I often find myself looking through the words of Dr .Martin Luther King for inspiration. I admit that I often skip the “I Have a Dream” speech. Continue Reading →

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Second Karamu forum draws engaged audience — One long-term goal: an action plan for the Black community




By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Organizers predict that by the time the “Karamu House,” a monthly forum series which began in June, concludes in December, an action plan for the Black community will be formed. “If we can leave here with an action step, and the next one we get another action step, by the end of the year we will have it tight and can institute [it],” commented St. Paul NAACP President Jeffry Martin after the second in a series of such meetings July 11 at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Paul. The series will focus primarily on the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Continue Reading →

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Nominally Free…



Starting this blog just after we celebrate the 150th year of the Emancipation Proclamation’s inauguration seems fitting.  Because much of what will be written in this blog will range from the historical context of the plight of Africans here in America to how the construct of our plight has not changed.  All of it will revolve around how this construct plays out in the often time ignored topic of micro-economics. When discussing micro-economics–especially the concepts for micro-economy (or lack thereof) of African-Americans (often referred to as Black economy)—we see that not much has changed since the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.   Now this isn’t to say there has not been a vast quality of life improvement for Blacks, we certainly see that play out in our daily lives.  We see the freedoms we have in places we can now travel, people we can now wed, professions we can now enter, and elected offices we can now hold.  However, while the fire hoses were turned off, the dogs put back on chains, the ropes taken off of the lynching trees, the shackles and fetters removed from flesh;  Carter G. Woodson describes the times in which we now live with the following quote from his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, “The poverty which afflicted them for a generation after Emancipation held them down to the lowest order of society, nominally free but economically enslaved.” In order to understand what he means by this we need look no further than the percentage of wealth that is housed within the black population of this country in 2012 (Black folks have accumulated almost 1% of the wealth in this country); then look at the percentage of wealth for black folks in 1862, a year before the Emancipation Proclamation became effective (less than 1%). We also know that resources or the accumulation of resources is what generates wealth. Continue Reading →

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Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation


This January 1 marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The original purpose for the document core to President Abraham Lincoln’s presidency may have been to free slaves, or it may have been solely a strategic move to decimate the Confederate troops’ stronghold in the South and win the Civil War. Its purpose was probably a little bit of both. Regardless of Lincoln’s intent, my ancestors named the day of Lincoln’s signing of this historic document Jubilee Day. Many African Americans continue to celebrate Jubilee Day with a New Year’s Eve church service called “Watch Night Service.”

I grew up in the tradition. Continue Reading →

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Obama presidency gives African Americans hope for ‘a more perfect union’


By Vickie Evans-Nash



WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over 800,000 people were in attendance on the National Mall for the 2013 presidential inauguration. Though the crowd may not have equaled the size of the 2009 gathering, this second presidential inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama demonstrated Americans’ enthusiasm for his presidency. What was a significant event for many Americans was even more so for those of African descent. “It’s good to see an African American in the White House, especially somebody I voted for,” said Damola Ogundipe, former Minnesota Gophers football player, while touring the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument in the nation’s capital the day before the inauguration. Ogundipe, born in Nigeria and raised in the Twin Cities, moved to Los Angeles just over a year ago after finishing college. Continue Reading →

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Emancipation Proclamation and our collective history


By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Guest Commentator


The Emancipation Proclamation, which set our nation on the path to the end of slavery, was signed 150 years ago this month. This year, we should resolve to teach our children the story of our collective history. The past century and a half offers countless tales of bravery and sacrifice to inspire the next generation. Only by sharing our history will we be able to continue our progress over the next 150 years. President Lincoln’s wartime proclamation in 1863 read that “all persons held as slaves” in rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” This was a noble idea and certainly a brave gesture. Continue Reading →

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Unchained to portray Black slavery? Was there a politically correct way for Django Unchained to portray Black slavery?


The start of 2013 is making it difficult to avoid one of America’s greatest sins — slavery. We’ve just marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and a plethora of films, documentaries and TV specials are scheduled to address slavery. One blockbuster hit that’s playing in cinemas now, and is likely to walk away with several Golden Globes and Oscars, is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Django Unchained depicts a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) who fearlessly treks across the U.S. to find his wife (Kerry Washington) in order to rescue her from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). The film is classic Tarantino: a homage to the spaghetti western with romance and revenge narrative. Continue Reading →

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New Year resolutions: Protect children from violence, poverty



By Marian Wright Edelman

Guest Commentator


As New Year’s Eve countdowns wound down, many people turned to the familiar ritual of taking stock of where they are now to make resolutions for what they can do better in the new year. We all measure our accomplishments and shortcomings in different ways. Some people count numbers on a scale or in a savings account. But what if we decided to take stock as a nation by measuring how we treat our children? If we did that kind of countdown, we’d learn:

• Every second-and-a-half during the school year a public school student receives an out-of-school suspension. Continue Reading →

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