Hundreds of citizens from St. James came out to embrace and participate in the Emancipation celebrations at Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay on Saturday night (July 31).
The celebrations were organised and produced by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), in association with the St. James Parish Council. It included demonstrations by marching bands, renditions from a number of gospel artistes and the symbolic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by the Custos of St. James, Hon Ewen George Corrodus, at midnight.
Custos of St. James, the Hon. Ewen George Corrodus, reads the Emancipation Proclamation during the Emancipation Vigil at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay Saturday night (July 31).
This was followed by the laying of a wreath in honour of the 166 African slaves from St. James who were executed at Sam Sharpe Square, during the 1831-32 rebellion.
The Proclamation, which officially signalled the passing of the law for the celebration of August 1 as Emancipation Day in Jamaica, was made by Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, in 1838.
The Proclamation stated, “We humbly call upon persons of all classes within this our said island, to observe the said first day of August next with the same reverence and respect which is observed and due to the Sabbath”.