The African American Second Baptist Church of Hampton, Virginia was established in the months following the end of the Civil War. This week the congregation makes preparations for a celebration of January 1, 1866, the third anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the first since the effecting of freedom for all blacks with the Union defeat of the Confederate States.
First meeting in the Hampton court house, the congregation now meets at the Whittier School near Emancipation Oak, the site of the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to black persons in Virginia’s Peninsula area.
The church’s pastor, Rev. John Smith, helps organize the upcoming celebration of freedom, as described in today’s The True Southern newspaper: