I frankly did not realize that January 1st represented the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation until I began to see articles about it. A couple of intrepid fellow Viners were disappointed that few responded to articles they seeded regarding this milestone. Though an interesting anniversary that warrants reflection, I suspect that most people simply missed it. Perhaps others - in oftentimes misguided efforts to keep the past in the past - simply don't want to be reminded of this time of moral bankruptcy, sedition, war, death and defeat (for the seceding states).
As pivotal as the Emancipation Proclamation is in American history, slavery did not end with it. Juneteenth is celebrated in recognition of federal troops arriving in Galveston, TX - two and a half years after the Proclamation went into effect - to actually enforce it. Of course, the 13th Amendment - which officially ended slavery in the United States - would be ratified another six months later. Only the uninformed assert that President Lincoln freed the slaves through the Proclamation. Historians correctly point out that only the confederate states that seceded from the Union were targeted by the Proclamation. Pro-slavery but non-secessionist border states were not affected by the Proclamation, nor were pro-slavery territories already under Union control. President Lincoln himself was reluctant to issue the Proclamation. Like President Obama on the right of homosexual couples to marry, President Lincoln's perspective "evolved" as a result of abolitionist advocacy and his own objective to disrupt and defeat the confederate states and re-unify the nation.
Perhaps some consider the anniversary of the Proclamation to be a yawner because of the more than century-long battle yet to occur against the mindset of racial hegemony foundational to the institution of American slavery. A nation founded under the principal that "...all men are created equal" needed to maintain the morally bankrupt notion that the African was not really a man - not truly human - in order to justify slavery. Only the stunningly ignorant believe that such attitudes simply vanished with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Indeed, it would be another century before the last at least vestiges of white supremacy would be removed institutionally and even then not fully from hearts and minds. America was a slave nation for 37% of its existence. But America was institutionally racist for nearly 80% of its existence. In the 48 years since the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, we as a nation have come very far and as a black man, there is no place in the world I would rather be than here and no other country I desire to be a citizen of. But only a fool observes the reactions to the first person of color to be elected President of the United States and not conclude that some of our fellow Americans still have a ways to go. Only a moron notes the dozens of unarmed, law abiding black men gunned down by the police or by other citizens and not acknowledge that the curse of racism and bigotry remains to this day. Only the morbidly obtuse looks at the unbalanced arrest and incarceration rates and not acknowledges that our criminal justice system remains the last vestige of a racial caste system that goes back well over 300 years.
Issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation was an important historical milestone that should be acknowledged as a step along the way to America actually becoming a nation that lives up to its founding ideals. As demonstrated by the numerous examples of xenophobia, racial, ethnic and religious bigotry, homophobia manifest in policy and gender insensitivity if not outright inequality, we as a nation remain on the road toward full achievement of those ideals.