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National Archives reflecting on emancipation

— It has been 150 years since slavery officially ended in America.

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves in states rebelling against the nation — meaning the Confederate states of the South — were free.

A century and a half later, the National Archives at Atlanta is preparing to tie that anniversary into its Black History Month celebration with a symposium entitled, “The Legacy of the Emancipation: Its Impact upon America and the African-American Experience.”

The one-day program will be held Feb. 9 from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the archives’ facility located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow.

“The symposium will be of interest to scholars of late 19th- and 20th-century African-American history, as well as members of the general public who desire a deeper and broader understanding of the American story,” said National Archives Education Specialist Joel Walker in a written statement.

Speakers and panel discussion participants expected to participate in the event include:

• Former Georgia Secretary of Labor Michael Thurmond;

• African-American Civil War Museum Curator Hari Jones;

• Center for Civil and Human Rights representative Hermina Glass-Avery;

• John Marshall Law School professor Anthony Baker;

• Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society Metro Atlanta Chapter President Emma Davis Hamilton;

• Historian and Black Holocaust Exhibit creator Velma Maia Thomas.

The 44th US Colored Troops unit from Chattanooga is expected to have an exhibit on African-American Civil War soldiers at the symposium. Re-enactors from the 9th and 10th Buffalo Soldiers are also expected to be in attendance.

The cost to participate is $10 and pre-registration is required. Log onto to register for the event.