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International | Education & Student Activism

Congressman Charlie Rangel and Baba Leroy Sykes ~ Ongoing battle towards Freedom's Eve
by Michael Harris
Tuesday Nov 27th, 2012 12:18 PM
During the Korean War, Charlie Rangel and Leroy Sykes were prisoners of war together. Many U.S. Veterans continue to serve quietly honoring those who served and are no longer with us physically. Baba Leroy Sykes continues to guide a positive way forward. Freedom's Eve, the 150th Anniversary is the occasion to help create a National Emancipation Day. Freedom is not Free.
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Congressman Charles B. Rangel recognized the importance of The Emancipation Proclamation by signing on as an original co-sponsor to a resolution recognizing the 150th anniversary of The Emancipation Day. H. Res. 803, authored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), also recognizes as The Emancipation Proclamation's significance in the struggle for the rights and freedoms that we all enjoy today.

"The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most important documents in our great Nation's history," Rangel said. "It helped to pave the way towards the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which ultimately and officially ended slavery at the end of the Civil War."

The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order that was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. The proclamation declared that "all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free.' The Proclamation emancipated millions of slaves in the states had seceded from the Union -- South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and North Carolina-- but its power was limited at the time that it was issued. In 1863, it did not free the slaves that were in the Border States and it exempted the parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control in the Civil War.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially ended slavery when it was adopted on December 6, 1865. In addition, The Emancipation Proclamation was the precursor to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments as well as the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

"If it wasn't for The Emancipation Proclamation, our nation may not be where it is today," Rangel said. "While The Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the United States, it dramatically changed the course of the Civil War and it symbolizes what America is all about -- hope and freedom."