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In honor of the 140th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Old Dominion University President Roseann Runte issued the following statement, which was to have been read at a ceremony on campus Monday, Sept. 22. This observance will be rescheduled:

Sept. 22, 2003

Whereas, Old Dominion University is dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge and understanding of the human condition, and

Whereas, the history of our country forms a significant part of our national heritage and identity

It behooves each and every one of us to recognize and recall the Emancipation Proclamation, issued 140 years ago on September 22, 1862. That document declared that on the first day of January 1863, "all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."

Despite the proclamation, slavery continued in some areas until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 18, 1865.

The Emancipation Proclamation is historically significant and provides us a key to understanding the past that we may better meet the challenges of the future.

Since 1863 and earlier in the country's "free" states, African Americans have integrated into all levels of society and have played a proud role in building our nation.

It is, therefore, meet and just that we gather today at Old Dominion University, an institution enriched by the diversity of its population, which we celebrate daily, to celebrate the progress of the faith and strength of character shown by slaves and their descendants as an example to all people, regardless of background, race or religion.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Old Dominion University community recognizes the historical significance of this date; that we take this opportunity to reflect on our past to better understand ourselves, and that we dedicate ourselves to continuing our legacy of freedom and equality for all.

This article was posted on: September 22, 2003

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.