PIQUA — Greater Lover Missionary Baptist Church will be holding an event with the theme of “From Enslavement to Empowerment” to observe the 400th year anniversary of when African slavery was first brought to the American colonies at Jamestown, Va. in 1619.
It will be held at Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church, located at 320 Park Ave. in Piqua, on Saturday, May 4, beginning at noon.
The first weekend in May has been chosen in conjunction with the original Memorial Day of May 1 that began as the first tribute in honor of those who died in the struggle for freedom in the Civil War. Later, a military general under Reconstruction authority embraced the concept, and it was instituted as a National Holiday to be celebrated at the last of May rather than the first week in May.
With the leadership of the black church in mind and with the recognition of the regional struggle for freedom and equality by the Randolph Freedmen who settled in Rossville, they will formally begin this observance at a church building established by the Randolphs.
The Saturday, May 4, opening of a series of events and activities will take place at noon at Greater Love. The theme for the 400 year observance will be “From Enslavement to Empowerment,” and different venue sites will be hosting later events and activities to be announced. On May 4 at Greater Love, the focus will be upon the African civilization of Egypt and its greatness thousands of years before the enslavement in America begins.
The film “Return to Glory” will be shown, much of which shares a Biblical context for the decline from prosperity and greatness to the coming enslavement of the Africans not unlike the over 400 years of enslavement of Israel under the Egyptian Pharaohs.
There will be a brief personal introduction on the 400 year observance and a preface to the movie by Larry Hamilton. Part 1 of “Return to Glory” will then be shown, after which they will pause and break bread and have a time for fellowship and/or to delve into dialogue with one another over Part 1. After which, they will resume Part 2 in the sanctuary. At its conclusion, they will have a formal benediction, but extend an invitation for those interested after the close to remain a question and answer period.
An essay competition will be offered for those 17 years old and younger in attendance to view the film “Return to Glory.” A first place prize of $25, second place of $15, and third place of $10 will be awarded based upon a question inspired by the book “Modern Day Pharaohs” by James Brown of Indianapolis, Ind. The question, details, and judges will be revealed after the viewing of the movie.
Subsequent events and activities of the 400 Year Observance of African forced labor in America will also be announced at this inaugural opening event.