A celebration more elaborate than that held three years ago, which marked the semi-centennial of the abolition of slavery in this country and brought a large crowd of people of the colored race from miles around, is being planned this year, the occasion being the fifty-third anniversary of the freedom of the negro from the bondage of slavery. The fittingness of a celebration of this kind finds ample justification in the marked progress of the race during its fifty-three years of freedom and everything points to the largest celebration of the kind ever held in Ohio.
The celebration this year will be of the nature of a Home Coming Week, during which former residents of this county and state are to be invited back to join in the celebration which comes to a close on Emancipation Day, September 22.
Thursday evening a concert at the Auditorium theatre here by Miss Rachael Walker, prima donna soprano, who has won fame in the musical world and distinguished herself among the people of her race. The appearance of Miss Walker here promises to furnish a fitting climax to the week of festivities. Miss Walker is a former Cleveland, Ohio, girl. She is a finished singer, has been complimented by royalty and also by Mme. Patti. She is a pupil of the famous teacher, the late Mme. Marchesi.
The concert will be held Thursday evening, September 21, and local talent will contribute to the entertainment. The presence of Wright's Orchestra of Columbus will also be a pleasing feature.
The celebration will begin with special services at the Wesleyan M. E. church here on Sunday, September 17. Monday evening a reception will be given at the church according to the tentative arrangements. Tuesday, a picnic and dance will be held at Fern Cliff Park, and on Wednesday, a lawn fete will be held at Sacra Via Park. Thursday evening Miss Walker will appear in a musical at the Auditorium, and Friday a general celebration of Emancipation Day will be held.
A big parade will be held in the morning. William Peyton of Rockland, an ex-slave said to be past 107 years old, will lead the parade, which will proceed to the fair grounds where the festivities will be held, including speeches and athletic events.
Governor Willis has been invited to address the holiday crowd and a colored speaker of national reputation will be included in the program of addresses. Gloucester, Athens, Middleport and Pomeroy will join with Marietta in the celebration of Emancipation Day, and large delegations are expected here on that day from Zanesville, Cambridge, Noble County, and the many other points in this section of Ohio and West Virginia.
A committee has been appointed by the Chamber of Commerce here to cooperate with the committee which has the arrangements for the celebration in charge and this furnishes even greater assurance of the success of the affair.