Civil War re-enactors join worshippers at St. Bartholomew

Civil War re-enactors join worshippers at St. Bartholomew

Photo by James A. McBride

civilwarre-enactors-webRetired Air Force Colonel Nancy Griffin, and Private Earl Weeks, a member of the 3rd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment Civil War Re-Enactors, process into St. Bartholomew Church on Sunday, May 29, during a ceremony to remember the Emancipation Proclamation, an 1863 act which called for the abolition of slavery in the Confederate States of America.

On Sunday, May 29, St. Josephine Bakhita Parish in Camden remembered the the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and their effect on African-Americans and all people of good will.

Before 10 a.m. Mass, members of the 3rd United States Colored Infantry Regiment Civil War Re-Enactors (Private Earl Weeks, Private Joseph Becton, and Private Robert Houston) and retired Air Force veterans (Herbert Hicks and Colonel Nancy Griffin) processed into St. Bartholomew’s Church. After a salute to the American flag, and a playing of “Taps,” Mass began.

The Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, during the Civil War, called for the freeing of slaves in the 11 Confederate States of America (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) which had seceded from the Union.

Lincoln, in the last sentence of his emancipation, added “and upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of almighty God.”

In addition to its historical merits, the proclamation proved to be a military, diplomatic and public relations coup for Lincoln.

Historians credit the document with making the war a moral cause for soldier and civilian alike and for convincing European nations to not aid a slave nation and thus not support the Confederacy.

The Proclamation made abolition a central goal of the war (in addition to reunion), angered many Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and weakened forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy.

In April 1865, the Confederate Army surrendered to the Union troops, ending the Civil War. Later that year, the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.

The ceremony at St. Josephine Bakhita Parish is part of a three-year-long “African American Evolution” program, which will chronicle formative eras in African American history, such as the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, through lectures, photos, songs and artifacts.

St. Bartholomew Church, one of the first churches in the Diocese of Camden for black Catholics, merged with St. Joan of Arc in Camden last August, to create St. Josephine Bakhita Parish.

Categories: Latest News

About Author