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      Churches celebrate freedom 150 years later

      The Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery turned 150 years old when the ball dropped and on Tuesday local churches celebrated by singing anthems and talking about the historical event. They say the day enabled African Americans to prove they were equal.

      "We have doctors, we have lawyers, we have scientists, we have engineers, we have astronauts, so we're contributing to the up building of this society," said Pastor Ezekiel M. Holley of the Mount Olive New Baptist Church in Sasser.

      Although 150 years stands between the proclamation and today, the pastor says it's just as important today as it was in 1863.

      "If you don't know where you come from, it's hard to understand where you're going so history is very important."

      Both Pastor Holley and Pastor Eugene Sherman of the First Institutional Baptist Church in Albany say it's especially vital for our younger generation to understand that their future's hold many possibilities because of the emancipation proclamation and those that sacrificed their lives for freedom.

      "Many of our ancestors died during the quarrelsome period of slavery and in one of our Negro anthems we say Let us not forget those who have gone on before us," said Pastor Sherman.

      Pastor Ezekiel Holley says "today African Americans can walk away with the lesson that they helped build the country that stands today".