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Celebrating Emancipation

Washington and Lee history professor Ted DeLaney, a member of W&L’s Class of 1985, was a keynote speaker for an unusual event this past weekend in the small Ohio River town of Gallipolis, Ohio. Every year since 1864, the people of Gallipolis have celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation in September, because the preliminary issue of the proclamation came on Sept. 22, 1862. The official announcement came from President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. 

Gallipolis is the only place in America where there has been a longtime celebration. This year’s event was No. 147. The theme was from “From Chains to Change,” and Ted gave his address during Saturday’s afternoon session. The two-day celebration featured Civil War re-enactors and impersonators of historic figures.

“What I found especially fascinating about this event is the continuous history of the celebration,” Ted said. “That and the biracial nature of the participants. I think what they are doing is important.”

Congratulations are also in order for Ted on his election to the board of trustees of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in Charlottesville.  VHF supports research, education and programs to assist individuals and communities to understand the past and its influence, to question and resolve issues in the present, and to shape a future committed to the common good. W&L alumnus Rob Vaughan, of the Class of 1966, is the president of VHF. And the foundation’s director of media programs, Andrew Wyndham, is a member of the Class of 1971.

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