The 147th annual celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation in Upson County will be held this Saturday, May 26. The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. R. L. White of Mount Ephraim Baptist Church in Atlanta.
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. The first order was issued September 22, 1862, and declared the freedom for all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, which was issued January 1, 1863, named the specific states where it applied.
Since May 29, 1866, people of Upson and surrounding counties have traveled to Thomaston to celebrate the Emancipation of the slaves. This is the oldest, continuously-observed annual emancipation event in the USA.
The celebration will kick-off with a parade at 11:15 Saturday morning. The parade route will begin at the old Thomaston Mills parking lot on Bethel Street continue around the courthouse square and end in Lincoln Park. Following the parade there will be a ceremony at the Lincoln Park Speaking Grounds beginning at 1 p.m.
Dr. R. L. White, Jr. is the successful Pastor and Founder of the Mount Ephraim Baptist Church. Pastor White graduated (with honors) in May of 1996 receiving the Doctoral Degree from the Interdenominational Theological center. Other academic achievements include a Master of Divinity Degree from the Morehouse School of Religion at ITC in 1987, an Associate Degree at Atlanta Junior College and a Bachelor of Ministry Degree from Luther Rice Seminary.
Pastor White also is a nationally acclaimed gospel artist who co-produced several musical projects, including, “I Shall Not Be Moved”, - which was among the top 40 albums to make the National Gospel Billboard chart; “Hold On And Don’t Let Go” -which was recorded during Mount Ephraim’s Silver Anniversary celebration; “Blest Be the Tie”, was released in 1999; “Change Me”, was released March 2001; “Angels Charge Over Me”, was released in 2003; and “Moving to A New Address”, was released in 2006. The latest recording “Hold Out” Celebrating Mt. Ephraim’s 40th Anniversary and featuring the “200 Voice Anniversary Choir” was released January 1, 2010.