The Rev. Edonna Alexandria poured libations on a plant while leading the congregation in a ceremony dedicated to their ancestors.
“Giving honor to the Creator who has created all things in the universe, today we call upon those who have gone before us to bring about our liberation,” she said.
With that, Alexandria led the audience in a roll call of African American ancestors who had paved the way for future generations. The list included Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Marcus Garvey, Primus King, Dr. Thomas Brewer and many others.
The ceremony was part of a Phenix City-Columbus Jubilee held at the Consolidated Government Plaza on Thursday to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the day black slaves in the Chattahoochee Valley were granted their freedom.
The historical event occurred on April 16, 1865, when Brevet Maj. General James Harrison Wilson led Federal troops through Alabama and into Georgia, capturing Columbus and Phenix City.
On Thursday, about 50 people turned out for the “Freedom Day” event organized by the Columbus Black History Museum.
The event started with the sounding of the shofar by Michael Goldman, president of the Board of Directors at Shearith Israel Synagogue, who later gave the keynote address.
Columbus City Councilman Jerry “Pops” Barnes and Phenix City Councilor Jim Cannon read city proclamations on behalf of their respective mayors declaring April 16 Jubilee and Freedom Day. Other elected officials in attendance included State Rep. Calvin Smyre and Marshal Greg Countryman.
Museum Curator Johnnie Warner released balloons outside to symbolize atonement. Black balloons represented the first three great civilizations of the world: Sumeria/Shinar, Indus Valley/India, Egypt/Khemet. The read balloons represented African American Ancestors who were afflicted with slavery, oppression and a black holocaust. Blue balloons represented 150 years of freedom.
Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.