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Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre

153rd Emancipation Day Celebration

160916 Emancipation Day CelebrationFriday, September 16, 2016
6:00 pm – Homecoming Reception, 2nd Floor
7:00 pm – Featured Performance, Auditorium

Free Admission

The Gallia County Emancipation Board will honor and dedicate the 2016 Homecoming Reception and Concert in memory of Board Member and Area Philanthropist George “Ray” McKinniss who passed away December 2015. The 2016 Homecoming Reception and Concert will be held Friday, September 16, 2016 at the Ariel-Dater Hall located at 426 Second Avenue, Gallipolis, Ohio beginning at 6:00 pm.

History of the Annual Emancipation Day

The Emancipation Proclamation has been celebrated and observed in Gallia County, Ohio continuously since 1863. The Gallia County Emancipation Day Celebration is reported to be one of the longest continuous running celebrations of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States.

Historically, the celebration originally was always celebrated on the 22nd of September. This coincided with President Lincoln’s historic signing of the Emancipation Proclamation which declared slaves “thenceforth and forever more free.” It was conducted in a religious atmosphere. Activities & games such as baseball, sack racing, hog calling and greasy pole climbing were included to stimulate the interest and maintain enthusiasm. Bands, famous orators, politicians, parades, dance and queen contests were also included in the celebration.

Kerr Station, Vinton “bean dinner” park, Bush Park, Bidwell-Porter, Gallipolis City Park, Gallia County Fairgrounds and most recently Bob Evans Farms in Rio Grande have served as locations for the annual celebration.
As many as 2,500 people have attended the celebration. In recent years, people from as far away as California, New York, Texas, Florida and Canada have been represented.

The 2016 theme for the Emancipation Celebration is “Building the Future by Celebrating the Past”.

The celebration provides a great arena to reflect upon the past, experience the present and project the future of African-Americans in Southeastern Ohio and the Nation.