CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee - Legal slavery in this country ended 150 years ago thanks to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. To commemorate this historic event, many black leaders gathered at a local church to celebrate Jubilee Day or Emancipation 2013.
president Valoria Armstrong was one of many black leaders in attendance.
"Slavery is part of our DNA here in the United States and it's imperative that we reflect on that to talk about the significance of what that did to us as a people," said Armstrong.
Current NAACP president James Mapp was also in attendance.
"Back years ago, we through we were free after 1870 but then we found out 40 years later we were almost back in slavery and that's without guns. Then we had segregation to take over. For the next 50 years, we were almost in bondage again," said Mapp.
During the special service, the Emancipation Proclamation was read out loud and explained so everyone in attendance could not only hear the words but understand the meaning.
Despite the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks continued to face racial violence and inequality for years to come. 150 years after slavery was deemed illegal, the NAACP says African Americans continue to file claims of alleged racial injustice.
"Everyday, we get calls pertaining to individuals who feel that they've been discriminated against be it by their employer, from a housing perspective or a government prospective," said Armstrong.
In addition to alleged cases of racism, the NAACP believes the combined lack of access to a good education and poor economics is hurting some black communities.
"If you make the money, you can enjoy the pursuits of life, liberty and happiness. If you don't make the money, it's very difficult," said Mapp.
The local NAACP also used Jubilee Day to call for a cease in violence on the streets, especially black on black crime.