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NAACP remembers Emancipation Proclamation

The Nansemond-Suffolk Chapter of the NAACP held its annual celebration service in remembrance of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 12.

The NAACP hosted the event on the campus of Living Waters Christian Center. Longtime Suffolk resident, Costellar Ledbetter, began the service stating, “the NAACP celebrates Jubilee Day of 1863 lest we forget that there was a time that we were not free.”

The theme selected for the evening was “Let Freedom Ring.” The local chapter is led by Seneca Bock.

Of the attendees, about 20 percent were youth between the ages of 6 and 16. The leaders of the local chapter are making a conscious effort to educate and equip the youth to know their history and the work of the NAACP. The program included participation from young and adult presenters.

The Rev. Isaac Baker offered the opening prayer, and Sandra Ruffin read the evening scripture.

Councilman Curtis Milteer Sr. gave the statement of purpose. The chapter’s vice president, Marion Flood, read the Emancipation Proclamation in its entirety. The musical selections by the youth choir of Mineral Springs Baptist Church added the appropriate merriment to the occasion.

Minister Sylvia Bond, a retired school teacher with more than 37 years of faithful service to Suffolk Public Schools, coordinated this year’s annual observance of President Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. She gave an inspiring recitation of the famous poem by Langston Hughes titled “The Negro Mother” and “The Ante-Bellum Sermon” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Bond invited fellow teacher and writer, QuaWanna Bannarbie, to give the keynote address. Her call to action message incorporated the theme of the event along with a subtheme of “Let Freedom Ring: Guard Your Ears.” She was introduced by her daughter, King’s Fork Middle School student, Jenesis Bannarbie.

Her speech encouraged listeners to pay attention to what they hear, because the ears are the gateway to freedom. At the conclusion of her message, she reminded the audience that faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary’s cross is the real Emancipation Proclamation which freed not only colored people but also all people.

Elder Harvey Lewis closed with the benediction.