Emancipation Proclamation at 150: SC pays tribute

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - This New Year's as the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, one observance will be held on the South Carolina coast where the reading has special resonance. That's because the sea islands southwest of Charleston were occupied by Union forces earlier in the Civil War and blacks there already knew freedom.

Bernard Powers of the College of Charleston History Department will speak New Year's Day at a Beaufort event marking the anniversary of the reading of the proclamation in nearby Port Royal. There, about 3,000 freed blacks joined a black Union regiment of South Carolina blacks to hear it read.

Powers, who is black, likens it to what many felt four years ago with Barack Obama's election. He says many never dreamed they would see a black president.