Gathering marks 150th anniversary
A largely African-American crowd of about 30 people gathered in a central Phoenix park on New Year's Day to celebrate the 150th anniversary of one of the country's most important Presidential executive orders.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, declaring all slaves in the divided nation to be "forever free".
One of the organizers of the event, Rev. Clyde Bowen, said it was important to mark such historail events: "People have a tendency to forget their history and forget their past, but then they're doomed to repeat the same mistakes in the future."
Actor-writer-director Rod Ambrose read the proclamation aloud. Other leaders addressing the small crowd included Rev. Jarrett Maupin II, Mel Hannah from the Phoenix mayor's office, councilman Michael Johnson, retired councilman Calvin C. Goode, state Republican Party chairman Tom Morrissey, and Dr. Ann Hart of the Arizona Department of Education.
PHOTOS: The crowd listens to a series of speakers