"As the weariness of an old year gave way to the promise of a new one, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation—courageously declaring on Jan. 1, 1863, 'all persons held as slaves' in rebellious areas 'shall be then, thenceforward and forever free.'"
Those words, stated by President Barack Obama in honor of the 150th anniversary of the abolishment of slavery in the U.S., were read to the Township Council at its Tuesday night meeting by Mt. Tabor resident Keith Bodden. His reading served as a prelude to his request that the council issue a resolution commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Bodden, a member of the Morris County NAACP and the North Jersey Civil War 150th Committee and historian of the Widener University African-American Alumni Association, asked the council to approve such a resolution at its Feb. 12 meeting to coincide with the 204th anniversary of President Lincoln's birth.
He said the NAACP plans to hold a Jan. 26 screening and discussion of the Oscar-nominated Steven Spielberg film "Lincoln" at the Morristown Clearview Cinemas.
"The township resolution should encourage public statements by township residents and students on the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on the U.S.A.," he said, adding that he believed the act would "be an affirmation of freedom and equality for all residents of the great township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, N.J."
The council thanked Bodden for his suggestion and indicated that it would move forward with drafting such a document.
Mayor James Barberio asked the resident if he had seen "Lincoln" yet. Bodden said no.
"It's worth seeing; it's great," Barberio said, smiling broadly. "Seeing it as an elected official really opened my eyes. Everything they had to go through to get things done...
"Things in government are just the same today."