RIO GRANDE — The 153rd Emancipation Celebration is returning to Bob Evans Farms in Rio Grande this weekend with Ohio University President Roderick McDavis and memorials to honor the late Ray McKinniss and the late Dorothy Casey.
Casey, who passed away Sept. 11, served as the director of the John Gee Black Historical Center, and was known for being a regional historian and advocate of African American issues.
McKinniss was the former Bob Evans Farms manager and a known supporter of the Emancipation Day Celebration as being pivotal in local economic affairs.
Scheduled for Friday at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, the Gallia County Emancipation Board is anticipated to dedicate the 2016 homecoming reception and concert in McKinniss’ honor.
At 10 a.m. Saturday at Bob Evans Farms, Bill Jackson and Civil War troops will be present for opening ceremony to raise the flag. Andrew Gilmore, Emancipation Day Committee president, will issue the welcome to those assembled. Minister Martin Griffin will lead the invocation and Jeannie Williams will lead the Negro anthem. Gallia Sub-District Youth will share the Pledge of Allegiance with the crowd.
River Valley High School’s marching band will share some musical selections with the crowd and Holzer Health Systems staff will make health fair announcements. Jenny Dovyak will share birthday chronicles announcements. Remarks will be given by Fred and Jacquelyn Smith in regards to a performance pertaining to Black Civil War soldiers, a presentation of coming from a slave into a soldier.
Steve Ball will offer up his talents as a Civil War musician.
Throughout the day, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will be holding their “Animal Encounter” programs beginning at 1 p.m.
The afternoon program begins at 2 p.m. with Emancipation Day Committee Vice President Glenn Miller welcoming local, state and national dignitaries. Remarks will be made by re-enactors Michael Crutcher and Bob Ervin as historical figures Frederick Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln, respectively.
Special music will be presented by Pop Fiction and the scholarship presentation will be headed by Arthur Clark. Remarks regarding civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King will be given Linae Scott. Miller with close Saturday’s ceremony with a few remarks.
Sunday will begin with a worship service at 10 p.m. at Bob Evans Farms. Miller will once again welcome visitors and special music will be performed by Zion Beaver Baptist Church Choir. Minster Marlin Griffin will introduce sermon minister, the Rev. Keith Jackson, of Zion Beaver Baptist Church.
The afternoon program will see Gilmore welcoming visitors. Gilmore will also recognize local, state and national dignitaries before introducing the Emancipation Day board. Clark will introduce the Emancipation Day Celebration’s keynote speaker McDavis.
Special music will be performed by St. Albans Men’s Choir, of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, of St. Albans, W.Va.
Remarks will be made by a Bob Evans Farms representative along with an AEP representative. Music will be performed by the St. Albans Men’s Choir before Gilmore gives the event’s closing remarks.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.