We have been thinking about sacred places. Certainly the Emanci- pation Oak is one of them. It was under this tree in 1863 that Union soldiers first read the Emancipation Proclamation to the freed African American community of Hampton, Virginia. The shade of the oak served as the first classroom for newly freed men and women.
The irony of this sacred place is that African slaves were brought ashore here. The nearby waters of the Hampton Roads harbor served as a deep natural channel for slave ships of all sizes. It was if God said: “You started something terrible but I am going to put a stop to it here.”
On August 19, 2006, God directed us to pray under the Emancipation Oak. There He asked us to repent for the sins of our nation. We were aware of some of the sins He wished us to address. He gave us a greater awareness of other significant sins which we needed to acknowledge while we interceding for the nation. For more on the specifics of what we prayed press here.
The Emancipation oak is designated as one of the 10 Great Trees of the World by the National Geographic Society.