The speakers include Harold F. Mills, chief executive officer of ZeroChaos in Orlando, Fla.; the Rev. Wayne McLaughlin, associate pastor of Chillicothe’s Zion Baptist Church; and author and biographer David Zang.
Gallia’s observation is the longest-running celebration of the Emancipation in the U.S. The event hails President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the document freeing African Americans from slavery on Sept. 22, 1862.
The first local observation was held a year later, with consecutive celebrations following up through this year. Emancipation has been observed in different sections of Gallia County, including Gallipolis and Bidwell, until settling at the fairgrounds in recent years.
Emancipation has been observed here because, as author Lynn Wasnak pointed out, “people here care deeply about tradition, about families, and most certainly, about freedom.”
And with food, displays and memorabilia, Emancipation has taken on the air of a reunion as many former Gallia County residents or their relatives come to stay for the event.
Mills, who will speak at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, leads a firm that aids Fortune 100 companies in locating contract workers. He oversees strategic direction and market development for ZeroChaos, considered one of the top minority-owned contract labor acquisition and management companies in the U.S.
A graduate of Purdue University and Harvard Business School’s MBA program, Mills is a frequent speaker at staffing industry events, and has been quoted in various business and trade media outlets. He resides in Orlando with his wife and three children.
McLaughlin will lead the Sunday morning worship service at 10 a.m. A native of Danville, Va., he was ordained in July 2004. His home church, founded in 1912, is one of Chillicothe’s fastest-growing progressive churches.
He has been married for the past 26 years to Gwen Stafford McLaughlin and has two daughters.
Zang, who will be the Sunday afternoon speaker at 1:30, is the author of Fleet Walker’s Divided Heart: The Life of Baseball’s First Black Major Leaguer and Sportswars: Athletes in the Age of Aquarius. His biography of Moses “Fleetwood” Walker (1857-1924) focuses on the Ohio-born Walker’s many trials and tribulations, but also details how he played 42 games for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884. The Blue Stockings were then considered a major league team, and Walker thus predated Jackie Robinson’s celebrated breaking of the color barrier in major league baseball in 1947.
In addition to the speakers, Emancipation will feature Civil War reenactors from the Fifth and 12th regiments of the United States Colored Troops, President and Mrs. Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and other historical fgures provided by the Ohio Humanities Council.