Historic Christ Church will host slave emancipation commemoration
, 2014


Historic Christ Church will host
slave emancipation commemoration

The public is invited to a program of history and music on Saturday, September 7, to commemorate two significant acts of slave emancipation in local and American history:  Robert Carter III’s 1791 Deed of Manumission and President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

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Sparky and Rhonda Rucker

In September 1791, Robert Carter III of Nomini Hall in Westmoreland County issued a deed of manumission to free his nearly 500 slaves through a plan of gradual emancipation. Carter’s deed was the largest single act of liberation in the history of American slavery before the Civil War. In January 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring freedom for millions of slaves in ten southern states. 

The program is from 10 a.m. to noon at Historic Christ Church in Weems and includes local historians, the Church of Deliverance choir, and musicians and folklorists Sparky and Rhonda Rucker. The event is co-sponsored by the Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, the Northern Neck Historical Society, and the Foundation for Historic Christ Church, with support from the Rappahannock Foundation for the Arts. Admission is free, but donations are requested to help defray program costs for the nonprofit sponsors.   

In “The Blue & Gray in Black & White,” performers Sparky and Rhonda Rucker will present a synopsis of the American Civil War through songs and narrative. They begin with the causes and events leading up to the conflict and touch on some of the highlights of the war. 

“We give the history from the perspectives of both the North and South, including the participation of the African-American soldiers. The stories, some sad and some humorous, include insights into the colorful personalities who participated in the war,” said S. Rucker.

In more than 40 years, the Ruckers have performed at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as well as for NPR’s On Point, Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage and Morning Edition. Their recording, “Treasures & Tears,” was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award, and their music also is included on the Grammy-nominated anthology, “Singing Through the Hard Times.”


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