Local church remembers history with a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation

Church members look on at a ceremony celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation at New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Jan. 1, 2018/Ronshad Berry (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- For more than 60 years, members of Macon's New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church have had a deeper reason to celebrate the new year.

Monday afternoon church and community members gathered to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation.

This 150-year-old executive order signed by President Abraham Lincoln changed the federal legal status of millions of enslaved people from slave, to free.

Pastor Edward Dawson hopes this resonates with the younger generation.

"Our young people need to know for sure about the shoulders they are standing on. They don't realize today that there are so many who dedicated their lives to making a better life for us as a black generation," Dawson said.

The service also kicked off with planned celebrations honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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