As we plow through the holiday season on our way to New Year's, it's well worth stopping for a second to remember an event from a century and a half ago. January 1, 2013, just happens to be the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. As any schoolkid (or anyone who's seen Lincoln in the theater recently) can tell you, the Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the Civil War as a bold statement to all Southern slaves that they could now consider themselves free. It effectively changed the purpose of the Civil War as well. This year's seven-day Kwanzaa celebrations take the Emancipation Proclamation as their theme and kick off with a ceremony and keynote address by Reverend Amos C. Brown of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, itself an institution in the city's African-American community since 1852. On this first day of Kwanzaa Rev. Brown focuses on the principle of umoja, or unity, a concept that applies both on a local scale to families and also to the nation at large. Festivities continue later in the evening when Bernard Anderson & The Old School Band honor the elders and that avenue's musical history with a smokin' blues performance. We've come a long way in 150 years.
Wed., Dec. 26, noon, 2012