According to experts who will speak at an upcoming symposium on the Emancipation Proclamation, one of the most important provisions of the proclamation allowed men of African descent to join the Union Army, thus adding a “powerful ally” to bring an end to the war with a Union victory.

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Lincoln granted freedom to all enslaved persons in all areas of the Confederacy still in rebellion. It did not pertain to any enslaved persons in states under federal control.

The symposium presented by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society Inc., Metro Atlanta Chapter in partnership with the National Archives at Atlanta, will be held on Feb. 9 at The National Archives at Atlanta, located at 5780 Jonesboro Road , Morrow, GA, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The symposium will include presentations by a distinguished platform of speakers including Hari Jones, assistant director and curator of the African American Civil War Museum, Washington, D.C.; Atty. Michael Thurmond, former Georgia Labor Commissioner; and Hermina Glass Avery, research and public historian for the Center of Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and the CEO and principal researcher at Heritage Row Partners, LLC, among others.

There will also be exhibits showcasing African Americans in military service from the American Revolution to the Gulf Wars; exhibits by 44th United State Colored Troops (Chattanooga); the 9th and 10th CAV (Buffalo Soldiers) Atlanta; as well as genealogists displaying the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the lives of their ancestors.

A required registration fee of $10 includes lunch. One youth admitted free with a paying adult. Seating is limited. For more detailed information and to register visit

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