Saturday's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in Stone Mountain City was a celebration of freedom, but it was also a reminder never to forget the horrors and reality of slavery, then and now.
See the attached video for some of the remarks made during Saturday's celebration.
The event, which included periodic cannon blasts and a proclamation for the Historic Bethsaida Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, took place next to the Sherman's Neckties sculpture, across from the First Baptist lawn in the center of town.
From child laborers to sex slaves, the issue of slavery is far from over in parts of the world -- including as prostitution activity as close as West Mountain St., said George Coletti, local historian and chairman of the Stone Mountain Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.
Hermina Avery-Glass Hill, public historian, researcher with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and associate director for the study of the Civil War at Kennesaw State University, vibrantly opened her comments from the book of Leviticus (chapter 25, verses 10-17) proclaiming the Year of Jubilee. "2013 is the Year of Jubilee. It is the third Jubilee since the Emancipation Proclamation."
Hill detailed the horrors of slavery, from beatings and rape to families being separated, as well as the hope that came with President Abraham Lincoln's proclamation. She passed around old photographs, cotton and shackles.
She also commended the Stone Mountain city "for its progressive stand in commemorating such an historic moment and document in American history."
Hill ended by saying: "As always, to forget is exile, but to remember is redemption."