DETROIT – The Detroit Historical Society’s Black Historic Sites Committee is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Michigan with a very special afternoon of events on Sunday, January 6 at the Detroit Historical Museum. This free program begins at 1 p.m. with refreshments, readings of the Emancipation Proclamation by local ministers, poetry readings, storytellers and tours of the new Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad exhibition.

The event honors the January 6, 1863 reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Historic Second Baptist Church in Detroit. The Black Historic Sites Committee, along with the Baptist Ministerial Alliance and Broadside Press, have partnered together to bring attendees an enlightening look at the history of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The program commences with a historical overview and presentation, followed by readings of poetic works created by pioneering African-American writers Dudley Randall, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Albert M. Ward and Robert Hayden. The poems will be read by Dr. Gloria House, Professor of Humanities and African American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, Associate Professor Emerita in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department of Wayne State University and Broadside Press board member; Albert M. Ward, Broadside Press board member and poet; Lori Allan; andBill Harris, poet and Professor of English at Wayne State University.

Civil rights activist and educator John Hardy will present the story of abolitionist and clergyman Rev. Absalom Jones, an excerpt from one of his sermons, and his civil rights petition to Congress in regard to the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. Rev. Dr. Kevin M. Turman of Historic Second Baptist Church will conclude the program, leading local ministers in a series of readings of Abraham Lincoln’s January 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

The hour-long program will repeat at 3 p.m. after an hour break to explore the Doorway to Freedom exhibit and the rest of the newly-renovated Detroit Historical Museum. For more information please call (313) 833-1801 or visit

The Black Historic Sites Committee of the Detroit Historical Society, founded in 1971, is a group of volunteers that promotes a greater understanding of the contributions of African Americans to the history of metro Detroit and the state of Michigan.

The Detroit Historical Museum, located at 5401 Woodward Ave. (NW corner of Kirby) in Midtown Detroit, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is free for all, all the time. Parking in the Museum’s lot is $5 at all times. Group tour pricing and information is available by calling (313) 833-1733. Permanent exhibits include the famous Streets of Old Detroit, the Allesee Gallery of Culture, Kid Rock Music Lab, Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad, Detroit: The “Arsenal of Democracy,” Frontiers to Factories, America’s Motor City, and The Glancy Trains. For more information, call the Museum at (313) 833-1805 or check out our website at 

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