Church-goers gathered at Alabama's Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church on New Year's Day to mark the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Worshippers gathered at the historic Shiloh Baptist Church in Macon County, Alabama on New Year's Day to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The church was founded a few years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation into effect on January 1, 1863, to formally declare millions of slaves free. Church-goers sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic and recalled the days leading to the civil rights movement. "It is the day that Negroes 150 years ago prayed for, they fought for. More than 200,000 African Americans fought in the Civil War for freedom," said Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford, who was the keynote speaker at the church. Lincoln's proclamation formally declared free 3 million slaves held in areas that were in rebellion against the U.S. government. It also invited black men to join the Union army and navy; almost 200,000 enlisted during the 1861-65 war. Once signed, the Emancipation Proclamation put freedom for slaves at the top of the wartime agenda and added moral force to the Union cause, according to scholars.