Close to where we live here in Hampton, Virginia is the Emancipation Oak. It’s the tree below that we visit every few months with visitors or by ourselves. It’s the place that the slaves, still enslaved, came to hear for the FIRST TIME THE READING OF THE DECLARATION OF THEIR FREEDOM!

The following words read to them in 1863 under the tree are from our Declaration of Independence written by.     Abraham Lincoln


Whereas: “That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons…”       Signed President Abraham Lincoln.

Just think of it. No news papers, no radios, no tv’s, no social media and no cell phones! Although the Declaration had already been signed, many thousands did not know the good news. The slaves gathered together that day waiting to hear the “important” announcement!

Picture them sitting under this oak tree, tired and weary from the yoke of slavery placed upon them for more than 100 years. AND THEN IT HAPPENED! The news of freedom reached their ears and they went from bondage to free men in that moment. The Declaration written earlier had just been read to them and there was no going back! (Their journey to being free indeed still took many years.)

I think of the millions who still do not know that their Declaration of Independence has already been signed in the Savior’s blood.

It’s unthinkable that today millions still sit under oak and palm trees and wait for someone to tell them the “GOOD NEWS-YOU ARE FREE!”

“How can they hear if nobody tells them?” Romans 10:13-15.“.        Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah 6:11

This question still requires your answer!