For more than 140 years, folks in Gallipolis pause in the middle of September to remember an event that forever changed the town, the state of Ohio and the entire U.S. It’s the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves across America, and the "Emancipation Celebration" helps make sure...we never forget!
Ohio University President Dr. Roderick McDavis credits the signing of this document, the Emancipation Proclamation, with the accomplishment of his lifetime.
“Without that declaration, without that proclamation, I would not have had the opportunity to serve as president of Ohio University,” said McDavis. “Not a day goes by that I don't think about that and appreciate that reality. That makes me want to join in a celebration of that important proclamation."
It’s a celebration that brings history to life, complete with civil war re-enactors and even President Abraham Lincoln himself.
Re-enactor Clark Morgan credits Lincoln's emancipation with helping end the Civil War by allowing African American troops to join the fight in large numbers.
“The Emancipation Proclamation opened the door to allow a lot of those blacks to join the service,” said Morgan.
And Ohio played a bigger role in producing more troops than all but two other states.
They’re reminding everyone of a lesson from years ago, by teaching a new generation today.
This is the 143rd Annual Emancipation Proclamation Celebration in Gallipolis. It's the longest-running observation of its kind across America, and started the very first year after Lincoln signed the document freeing slaves.
It had a very serious message, reminding everyone to be thankful for their freedom. And Dr. McDavis is the very first African American to serve as Ohio University's president.