(Photos) Emancipation Day Celebrated in Georgia since 1866

A road sign in Thomaston, Georgia identifying Home of Emancipation Proclamation Celebration Road

⁣⁣I saw this road sign as I passed through Thomaston, Georgia a couple Sundays ago. According to a gas station attendant, the Georgia town has celebrated their Emancipation Day annually since 1866 and continue to do so, today.

On May 29,1865, enslaved persons in Thomaston, Georgia, learned of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. According to the paper, they were free. What would immediately ensue is a century and a half of social conditions that would leave many to contemplate what it means to be free in America? ⁣⁣

Thomaston, Georgia has celebrated Emancipation Day on May 29th since 1866. Georgia House Resolution 859 was passed in 1996, naming May 29th Emancipation Day in Upson County, Georgia.

Georgia House legislation naming May 29th Emancipation Day in Thomaston, Georgia

Ronda Racha Penrice wrote a story on it. Emancipation Day and Juneteenth celebrations aren’t new published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ⁣⁣

This post is dedicated to #Justiceforbreonnataylor ⁣

(Photo) A city worker and a Perspective on Confederate Monument Removals

Decatur, GA city worker stops lunch break to pose for a photo.

Photographed in Decatur, Georgia. June 19, 2020. The afternoon after a Confederate obelisk was removed⁣ from Georgia Square.

A city worker, father, after-hours dandy stops for a photo during his lunch break.

“You can pull all the confederate monuments down…unless the hearts of people change, ain’t much else going to change.” ⁣-anonymous

Image 2: Dr. Hilary Green has published a Monuments Removal 2015-2020 Map. Link in bio

Click image above to access Monument Removals, 2015 – 2020 map. Produced by Dr. Hilary Green

Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum Re-Opens with “Right to the City” Exhibit

By: Geronimo Collins

The Anacostia Community Museum, located in Southeast Washington and one mile from Frederick Douglass’s home, hosted its grand reopening celebration on Saturday, October 12th after a seven-month-long, $4.5 million renovation. The renovation adds new greenery, seats, lights, and murals to make the museum more communal. It was also the reopening of “A Right to the City,” a photo exhibit highlighting the economic and landscape changes of six DC neighborhoods – Adams Morgan, Anacostia, Brookland, Chinatown, Shaw, and Southwest – over five-plus decades. A Right to the City” is on view at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum through April 20, 2020.

Washington, DC has experienced the highest intensity of gentrification of any U.S. city in the 21st century, which forced most of the city’s low-income black and Latinx populations to relocate to the far north- and southeastern neighborhoods or into DC’s suburbs. Add the preceding years between the post-1968 riots in response to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the crack era of the 1990s which saw many middle-class blacks moving to the suburbs at an annual rate of 1 percent of DC’s population, A Right to the City gives a look into what got the ball rolling long before contemporary audiences came to know the G-word. 

Each neighborhood featured in the exhibit tells the oft-heard history of each, along with the moments created by local heroes known only by those who lived through these times or culture-keepers. Visitors can also listen to stories from Washingtonians about this bygone era. Here are some key takeaways for those least familiar with DC’s history: 

Adams Morgan

The Adams Morgan Organization was founded in 1972 by several neighborhood advocates and took up the mantle of self-government and community control.

The New Thing Art & Architecture Center was established in 1967 by Collin “Topper” Carew. It was here, young people took classes in creative writing, photography, painting and drawing, filmmaking, and African drum and dance.


Southeast Neighborhood House started its work in 1929 as a social services organization and played a major role in the founding of the youth-led Rebels With A Cause and a tenants association of self-proclaimed welfare mothers living in the Barry Farm Dwellings called the Band of Angels. Eartha Kitt was the Rebels’ most well-known supporter and testified in Congress on the group’s behalf.


“A white man’s road through a black man’s bedroom” was the phrase created during the resident-led fight to stop construction of the North-Central Freeway through Brookland, a neighborhood in Northeast DC. The freeway opposition was led by a truly odd couple – a young black man who worked for the General Services Administration named Reginald H. Booker and an older white man of Syrian descent who worked as a graphic designer and labor organizer named Sammie Abbott. 


DC’s Chinatown in its current location (between 5th and 9th streets NW to the east and west, with G Street and Massachusetts Avenue to the north and south) has existed since 1931 and was thriving Chinese community for decades. Because the 1968 riots negatively affected the section of Massachusetts Avenue inhabited by Chinatown residents, many began moving to the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs thus kickstarting Chinatown’s decline. In 1990, the neighborhood was still 66 percent Asian. Once the MCI Center, later the Verizon Center and now Capital One Arena, was built in 1997, Chinese-owned businesses and residences were replaced with national chains such as Ruby Tuesday’s, Legal Sea Foods, and Starbucks. By 2017, only 300 Chinese residents remained in DC’s Chinatown.


Model Inner City Community Organization (MICCO) was founded in the 1960s by Reverend Walter Fauntroy of New Bethel Baptist Church in Northwest DC’s Shaw neighborhood. MICCO’s plan of “Renewal with the people, by the people, and for the people” was implemented to empower the business, community, political, and spiritual leaders of Shaw with resources to make it an economically viable neighborhood.


The federal government’s urban renewal project, deemed by many as the Negro Removal Project, which began in the 1950s had a lasting effect on the smallest quadrant of DC. To make way for federal buildings and the southward extension of downtown DC, 99 percent of the buildings in Southwest were leveled thus forcing 4,500 black families to move to other parts of DC. Only 310 of the 5,900 newly-constructed buildings were moderately-priced housing. This displacement greatly impacted the social fabric of the affected families.

“A Right to the City” is on view at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum through April 20, 2020.

400 Years Exhibit Opening: MALU & APEX Museum

“400 Years” Exhibit – Intro Video

VisitBlackHistory.com attended the opening of “400 Years” at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, yesterday. August 25, 2019 is considered the “400th anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans to Point Comfort in the English colony of Virginia.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. NHP (MALU) has partnered with neighboring APEX Museum to illustrate the forced removal of Africans from their native land. MALU features a teaser exhibition in the park visitor’s center atrium. This includes a depiction of Senegal’s “Door of No Return” and artifacts on loan from the APEX Museum. Visitors are encouraged to visit the APEX Museum to view an in depth exhibition on slavery.

Daja Rodriguez and Marcel Middleton of InFrame Consulting were called to assist in developing an exhibit that could demonstrate the resilience of a stolen people and “how much our ancestors have paved the way not only for America but for who we are today.” 🖤

promotional flyer for 400 Years Exhibition

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Nattional Historical Park daily operations are Monday through Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and the APEX Museum (www.apexmuseum.org) operates Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

African American Grounds at Historic Oakland Cemetery

Brochures in Historic Oakland Cemetery’s Visitors Center detail their African American burial grounds, which were once segregated. Additionally, visitors can learn about the notable contributions of African American’s buried at the site.

This week, many across the U.S. commemorated and acknowledged Juneteenth. I was in a very reflective state of mind that day, lending my thoughts to what freedom really meant for African Americans after slavery. I asked Ali’a for ideas on black historic sites in Atlanta, that I could visit and document. Of those she suggested, Oakland Cemetery really stood out to me. Since moving to Atlanta, Oakland Cemetery’s historic preservation work and public programming has piqued my interest. I have never taken a guided tour, so I decided Juneteenth was the day to find out how the Historic Oakland Foundation interprets African American history.

Sign detailing Oakland Cemetery’s African American Grounds Project

Oakland Cemetery’s gift shop has a number of books about African American history in Atlanta. Authors of those books include Herman “Skip” Mason, Karcheik Sim-Alvarado, and Dr. D L Henderson. There were also brochures detailing the cemetery’s interpretation of their African American burial grounds. Freedom for African Americans after the Civil War meant segregation. That was also the case at Oakland Cemetery. I picked up a brochure titled “Historic Oakland Cemetery’s African American Grounds: Stories of Trials and Triumphs” from the visitor center. It states that in 1852 Atlanta city council ruled that people of color were to be buried separate from the public grounds. The area in which these individuals were buried was formally known as Slave Square. This was enforced until the 1960s.

Interpretive sign details the history of Oakland Cemetery’s once segregated burial policy. From 1852 to the 1960s, African American had to be buried in a separate section that was once known as “Slave Square”

In addition to interpreting the segregated burial grounds, the Historic Oakland Foundation is home to guided and self guided walking tours. Tours like the “African American Voices: At Historic Oakland Cemetery” audio cell phone tour, details notable African Americans buried at the site. This provides a unique way to learn about the historical contributions of Atlanta’s African Americans. For instance Carrie Steele Logan (1829-1900), opened the city’s first black orphanage. Marie Woolfolk Taylor (1893-1960), one of the founding members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. In addition to Dr. Roderick D. Badger (1834 – 1890), the first African American dentist in Atlanta…and many others.

Members of the Preservation Restoration Operations of Historic Oakland Cemetery @hofproteam working on a lot in the African American Grounds.

Restoration of the cemetery’s three-and-a-half acre African American Grounds began in 2017. According to Historic Oakland’s website, repairs are being made to fragile headstones, retaining walls, and paved historic pathways. Currently in phase 3 of restoration, $217k of the desired $219k in funding has been raised to complete the project.

Members of @hofproteam working on African American Grounds restoration project.

The opportunity to learn about the contributions of those who were either slaves, or one to two generations removed from slavery, is moving. It’s spiritual. Sean, one of the technicians on the Historic Oakland Foundation Preservation Restoration Operations team said that churches, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Masons, family descendants, and a host of others often come in groups to pay homage to those that have come before them.

May we all continue to visit and support these important African American, Black legacies that are being preserved by organizations like the Historic Oakland Foundation and friends.


Professional Spotlight: Derek T. Mosley, Archivist/Division Manager Auburn Avenue Research Library

Recorded February 8th, 2019 at Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. Derek T. Mosley, Archivist/Division Manager

In this professional spotlight, we sit down with Derek T. Mosley about his career path to becoming Auburn Avenue Research Library’s Archivist and Division Manager.

Mr. Mosley shares that he has had a love for history ever since he was a child growing up in La Marque, Texas. His favorite book genre was and remains to be biographies/autobiographies. One day he read a biography on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and after learning that King had attended Morehouse College, he determined that he would attend the Atlanta HBCU in due time, too. Morehouse was the only school he applied to, he was accepted into their history program and focused on African American studies. Initially, Mosley had plans to become a history teacher but an Andrew W. Mellon fellowship afforded him the opportunity to work in the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library. That is when he decided to change his initial professional plans and focus on a path that would lead to a career in archives management.

Mr. Mosley accredits the mentorship of, Karen Jefferson (Woodruff Library) and his post-graduate experience at Simmons University as two of the reasons he has been able to establish a career in archives management. After graduating from Simmons University with a Masters in Archives Management, Mosley went on to become the Director of the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana before returning to Atlanta, Georgia to become the Auburn Avenue Research Library Archivist/Division Manager.

Watch the video found above to learn more about Derek Mosley’s path to becoming an archives professional.

-Sophia V. Nelson for @TheMergingLanesProject on Instagram