Southampton Celebrates President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” ― Abraham Lincoln.

Wise word from a wise man, and a guy who changed the face of the United States of America with one of the boldest and most important documents in history, the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Tomorrow, on January 5, the Southampton intends to celebrate Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation with an event called, “Bells are Ringing.”

Carol T. Spencer of Sag Harbor—the committee leader for the roundtable discussion that will take place at 2:30 p.m. at the Rogers Mansion in Southampton—said, “The event was started by a woman named Judy Johnson in Southampton, she got the idea and is on the board of the Rogers Memorial Library and the Southampton Historical Society. I got connected to it and we had our first meeting to put it together in the early Fall. It’s  a great Southampton event, it’s very exciting, the program is really good.” Ms. Spencer said.

The event begins at 1:00pm where everyone is invited to bring bells to open Bells Are Ringing at the corner of Jobs Lane and Main Street in front of the First Presbyterian Church located at 2 South Main Street in Southampton. All the church bells of Southampton will ring in unison for one minute. Afterwards participants are invited into the Church to hear the Bell Choir of the First Presbyterian Church and gospel music by Showers of Blessings from Kings Chapel Church of God. A public reading of the Proclamation will be led by Rev. Richard Boyer, First Presbyterian Church and other local clergy.

“Like most people I didn’t even know that this was coming up. But when I joined the panel I really made an effort to participate. Working for the panel and reading various research I’ve really learned an incredible amount of information on this amazing piece of history. I will be giving a talk at the community gathering at Bell Choir of the First Presbyterian Church. I plan on quoting Booker T. Washington.”

The Emancipation Proclamation  was based on the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief of the armed forces; it was not a law passed by Congress. It proclaimed all those enslaved in Confederate territory to be forever free, and ordered the Army (and all segments of the Executive Branch) to treat as free all those enslaved in ten states that were still in rebellion, thus applying to 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S.

At 2:30pm in Southampton, a roundtable discussion takes place across the street at the Rogers Mansion, a property of the Southampton Historical Museum located at 17 Meeting House Lane. Carol T. Spencer, founder of Diaspora Books, will lead a panel of historians and authors on the meaning of the Proclamation and how it affected the nation and its citizens.

Ms. Spencer said there will food, along with live jazz music at the Rogers Mansion, and that several businesses in the Hamptons have donated their time to make this event possible.

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