A spiritual to mark the 150th anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation

  • In this photo from April 9, 1939, Contralto singer Marian Anderson performs on the steps of Washington's Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday after she had been refused permission to perform in Washington's Constitution Hall by the hall's owners, the Daughters of the American Revolution. The concert focused attention on Anderson and subsequent cases of racial discrimination.
In this photo from April 9, 1939, Contralto singer Marian Anderson… (AP photo )
January 01, 2013|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

On New Year's Day, 150 years ago, American history was forever changed when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

As we all know too well, that document alone did not free any slaves, but it was a crucial step that made clear the ultimate goal of the Civil War.

If you have seen Steven Spielberg's riveting film "Lincoln," you've probably been freshly consumed, as I have, by thoughts about this chapter of our country's past.

I know it sounds superficial, but the experience of the movie has made me feel the weight of today's anniversary more, has brought into sharper focus the significance and boldness of the Emancipation Proclamation -- and the subsequent effort to build on that step by fighting to pass the 13th Amendment, which "Lincoln" depicts so vividly.

To take note of this New Year's milestone in history, the deep, soul-stirring voice of Marian Anderson seems appropriate, even essential. Here is her recording of the spiritual "My Lord, What a Morning":

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