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Mosley signs bicentennial proclamation

Citizens of Harlan County were welcomed to the Harlan County Bicentennial Proclamation reading and signing on Friday, marking the beginning of a year-long celebration of Harlan’s 200 years as a county.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley opened the proclamation at 11 a.m. on Friday by welcoming attendees at the Harlan County Courthouse. Following prayer and the pledge, Mosley described what he sees as an important year for the county.

“Today is, of course, a monumental day as we kick off this year-long celebration,” Mosley said.

Mosley then introduced Harlan County Historical Network President Will Miller, who spoke briefly of the county’s people and culture before introducing Harlan historian Dr. James S. Green III.

During his introduction, Dr. Green thanked Mosley for giving him the opportunity to speak at the county’s proclamation. Green spoke about the different histories of Harlan as a county, including slavery around the 16th- and 17th centuries, the coal industry, the county’s economy, the people who first settled here and a slew of other historical facts.

Green then handed the ceremony back to Mosley, who thanked him for speaking.

Mosley described Green as “a phenomenal historian here. We’re fortunate to have someone like him in our community that has documented a lot of this history over the course of time and researches it.”

Mosley went on in his speech to ask the crowd what defines Harlan County for them.

“To me, over the past 200 years, this is what comes to mind,” Mosley began. “Think about the people that first came here more than 200 years ago, before the county was even incorporated… think about what it was like to even get here.”

“There weren’t even logging roads at that time. No roads, just trails, to get through these hills,” Mosley said.

Mosley added to think about how the people provided for themselves and took care of themselves from a health perspective. He went on to talk about the coal industry and how it provided a “melting pot” for the people who came to mine it. Mosley also mentioned the proud military heritage we have here.

“We have a proud and rich history here in Harlan County,” Mosley said. “I am Harlan County. You are Harlan County. And I am daggum proud of it.”

Mosley and Green unveiled the Bicentennial logo. Mosley then read and signed the proclamation for Harlan County’s Bicentennial, reiterating this year as a time for celebration.

Following the signing of the proclamation, Mosley and Harlan Tourism officials conducted a short meeting to begin preparing for this year’s events in association with the bicentennial.

During the meeting, Mosley, along with tourism’s Brandon Pennington and Laura Adkisson, spoke with community members about potential events needing scheduled leading up to a culminating event between Labor Day weekend and Halloween to celebrate the bicentennial.

The group discussed various possibilities, but ultimately decided to meet again during mid-April for further decision-making.

Harlan Tourism officials encourage organizations and individuals planning events to contact Pennington or Adkisson at the Harlan Civic Center to be part of the bicentennial celebration.

The deadline for event submissions is April 20.

Those wishing to submit their events can call Harlan Tourism at 606-573-4156 or email htcc@harlanonline.net, or contact Mosley at 606-573-2600 or 606-573-3522.