Black history series focusing on two historic anniversaries

Piper Piper The 36th consecutive Black History Month series, authored by former Rockdale teacher Susie Sansom Piper, is under way in The Reporter.

Theme for 2013 Black History Month is “At the Cross- roads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”

Previously Mrs. Piper authored “Ebony Etchings,” sketches of local African-Americans,” for 27 years.

Prior to that, she wrote a Black History Month series entitled “Just Folks” and “ Way Back When.”

Mrs. Piper was a longtime teacher before her retirement and was the last principal of Aycock High School, Rockdale’s school for African-Americans, which closed in the mid-1960s.

A resident of Austin, she is a member of St. James Baptist Church, edits the church newsletter, is a musician for the church’s senior choir, has written four Black History Month plays and numerous essays and poems.

Here is Mrs. Piper’s first installment of the 2013 series:

One-hundred-fifty years ago or more, there existed a vast difference of opinion between the Union, which represented the North and Eastern United States, and the Confederacy, which represented the deep South.

The South encouraged the maintaining status of slavery, while the North encouraged freedom. On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a wartime measure known as the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1963, or 100 years later, the elements of slavery still existed in the deep South, in forms of ‘separate everything,’ restrooms, schools, eateries, park facilities, neighborhoods, religious institutions, colleges, universities, and as a result, restlessness, turmoils of many descriptions, lynchings, beatings and false arrests, occurred.

Marchings, speeches, sit-ins invaded the land. America, once again stood at the crossroads.

Although nine years earlier, the Supreme Court had outlawed racial segregation of public schools, but equality of citizenship and segregation in other forms still existed. The late John F. Kennedy began his campaign for civil rights, although he was often ignored for his opinions, and was later assassinated.

On Aug. 28, 1963, hundreds of Americans of all races, religious concerns, and believers of civil rights marched to the memorial of Abraham Lincoln, and it was here that Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

Black History Month, “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality,” marks the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington.

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2013-01-31 digital edition

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