History Lesson


Kristin Huling, 12, of Granada Hills remembers learning a lot at Jubilee Day last year--a celebration commemorating President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.

“You don’t take this stuff for granted after (learning) that people went through a lot, just so I could be what I want to be,” says Huling, a top student at Hillcrest Christian School. “I’ve been thinking of becoming a lawyer because I’ve seen the power they can have in defending people.”

Her studies of the civil-rights movement also taught her about the power of the press. In the 19th century, Huling recounts, “Frederick Douglass--he was in the fight--started his own newspaper (and that) had him talking with the president.” She will be giving a talk about Douglass’ career at this year’s Jubilee Day celebration.


Huling also says that the slowness of communications at the time meant that news of the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t reach far-off states like Texas until summer. That’s why there’s also an annual celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation every June 16-19 called the Arrival of the Word.

This January’s observance in the Valley will be held Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pacoima. Organized for the last 10 years by the San Fernando Valley Branch of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, it will include a performance by the Pacoima Mass Choir, whose members belong to a variety of Valley congregations. The First-II Hype Gospel Drill Team consisting of kids 7 to 17, will also perform.

The Rev. Zedar E. Broadous, president of the Valley Branch of the NAACP, will be the keynote speaker. He plans to use the occasion to “look over the past year of local NAACP activity, and the new one coming on to set an agenda.”

Of special interest to Valley families, he says, is the issue of the possible breakup of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which he plans to discuss “from a minority point of view.”

Also on the program is community activist Buddy Hogan, who will summarize the Emancipation Proclamation and discuss its history.

Cheryl Gonzales, president of the National Council of Negro Women, San Fernando Valley section, will describe her group’s mentoring project. Drawing on the resources of Cal State Northridge, she says, “We take college students into local high schools--where the kids don’t have a lot of role models--and show them how to get involved in school events.”


Broadous also issued an invitation for people, including youngsters, to participate in the Mass Choir. They can rehearse with the group Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Mount Gilead Baptist Church, 11266 Glenoaks Blvd., in Pacoima. Younger choristers may also be part of the San Fernando Valley Youth Choir contingent for Jubilee Day. For rehearsal information, call (818) 896-8878.


Jubilee Day celebration, Seventh-day Adventist Church, 11350 Glenoaks Blvd., Pacoima. Sunday, 3:30-6 p.m. Free. (818) 899-4357.