Memorial dedicated for Emancipation Proclamation anniversary

FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Fluvanna County Historical Society dedicated a memorial recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War.

The 150th anniversary was in 2013, which is when the historical society decided a memorial was necessary. On Tuesday, that memorial was revealed to the public.

Patricia Johnson, the director of the Fluvanna County Historical Society, said 5,000 people were freed in Fluvanna County by the Emancipation Proclamation, and now a stone has been added to the Civil War Park in Palmyra to remember them.

"It just seemed appropriate to have this large and strong stone there, because that was our perception of emancipation and the people who experienced it,” said Johnson.

She said she is blown away by the strength the freed African-Americans had.

"There were men and women who were enslaved in this community and then freed, and somehow they found a way forward," said Johnson.

At the event, Johnson spoke of how African-Americans were able to own land, open businesses, and become pillars in their community after being freed in Fluvanna.

The Emancipation Proclamation memorial sits across from the Confederate memorial in the park. President of the NAACP Ben Hudson said this is a way for the community to learn both sides of the history.

“That's all history,” said Hudson. “Whether we want to take parts away from it or add parts to it, it's all history. So I think it's a chance for us to learn. If we can learn from it, then we're less likely to repeat some of those things that we might have had in our history in the past."

Mozell Booker, a member of the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors and an African-American whose family is from Fluvanna, said she hopes the memorial will encourage African-Americans in the community to be proud.

"It's encouraging when you hear the stories of how after the Emancipation Proclamation, people thrived when they didn't read, didn't write,” said Booker. “We should really be proud of where we are today."

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