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One hundred and fifty years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, across denominational lines, African American Christians will join with family members and church members to pray and thank God for allowing them to survive the oppressive Voter Suppression ID laws that were created by states after President Barack Obama was elected the first African American President of the United States.
These Voter ID laws mirrored the unethical, racially discriminating poll taxes and voting tests which were enacted after the Civil War. It is a tradition in the Black Church in America that five minutes before midnight, men, women and children will kneel, hold hands and pray to God from the present year into the New Year. One hundred and fifty years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law, on Dec. The first Methodist Watch night service in the United States probably took place in 1770 at Old St. Nearly one hundred and fifty years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, many African American Christians continue the tradition of gathering into mainline Protestant churches on New Year's Eve to celebrate Watch Night. The chains of poverty, racism, and discrimination have acted as constricting shackles for many blacks throughout the course of the century following emancipation. As I reflect on the historical and contemporary significance of Watch Night for African American Christians, I find myself wrestling with the following questions: should black Christians continue to keep the memory of slavery alive in the twenty-first century? Despite the early resistance to celebrating blacks’ emancipation, many African American Christians have continued the tradition of gathering in churches for Watch Night services. However, in my experience and celebration of Watch Night in a Church of God in Christ congregation, a Baptist church, and in a United Methodist church, the emancipation thrust of Freedom’s Eve has had weak emphasis. As Reverend Steward explained over a century ago, many contemporary African Americans may not feel the need to continue watching for freedom.
Unfortunately, even 147 years after the Emancipation Proclamation there is ample room for blacks to watch for freedom in the United States. The following traditional hymns can aid African Americans in reflecting on how God has been and remains to be their source of hope in the freedom struggle. To assist members in their Watch Night service, the worship leader may place the following in the church bulletin or on the projector screen.
These worship books provide hymns, gospel songs, scriptures, and images that can help the worship leader prepare for the watch night service. These rich academic texts offer historical analyses and interesting illustration and photography of various African American emancipation celebrations including Freedom’s Eve, Emancipation Day, and Juneteenth. Their works contain statistical analyses that pinpoint current challenges and complexities in African American communities and both works also contain strategic plans of action for African Americans to consider adopting and enacting to address black family, community, ecclesiastical, educational, and political breakdowns. Dear Editor, I want to use this medium to thank you and your team for giving Nigerians the oppurtunity to veiw our local Newspapers and Magazines on the Internet and also keeping us informed on the latest happenings around the world.
Everyone in the Country is aware of the recent hike in School Fees in LASU and all the other challanges faced by the Students, but Sir, I want to draw your attention to what I would call the ''WHO CARES'' attitude of the Board or whoever is incharge. Now, the school imposed it on every student to pay within a given time or risk their education with the school. Sir, I am sending this message from my mobile phone with hope that you would help these students appeal to the board or whoever is incharge to have a reconsideration and open the web portal, or provide other means for the students to registar their courses or even assure them that the issue would be rectified instead of threatining the students with possible rustication. Masterweb Comments - LASU authorities, please take action to address the issues raised by Louis Allison above. Our Great Pa Awolowo did not toil with education in the West and that is why the West is always recognized and his name is always mentioned with joy and happiness.
THE FATE OF THE PART TIME STUDENTS WHO FINISHED THEIR EXAMS OVER ONE YEAR AGO IS STILL A PUZZLE TO MOST PARENTS AND GUARDIANS. The most sadist aspect of it is that those who enjoyed 100% free education in Nigeria, are the very people behind the collapse and fall of the standard in education. Researchers from Indiana University surveyed close to 400 boys and girls between the agesA  of 7A and 12, of whom 59 percent were black, and slightly less than half white, to see if there was a correlation between time spent in front of the TV and children's self-esteem. Black men and boys are often criminalized on TV, the A researchers said, which can affect their feelings ofA self-worth. According to the study, self-esteem has significant behavioral and emotional ramifications, and it is often correlated with motivation, persistence and academic achievement, particularly among children. Building confidence in children, and helpingA them gain skills and competencies that contribute to a better life, such as learning instruments, playing sports or sticking with a difficult school lesson, will help do that.
Martins suggested that parents limit TV time, and as Kazdin suggested, helpA their kids A gain skills that willA improve A their lives.
Watch Night is a spiritual experience that for African Americans has long been tied to matters both deeply personal and highly political. Upon the arrival of December 31, 1862, however, the celebration of Watch Night took on a new meaning. And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages. And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
Freedom songs and anthems, both religious and secular, also came to characterize the services. Often coded with religious or folk metaphors, spirituals frequently expressed what could not be openly stated in conditions of slavery, and included songs of spiritual solace and tacit opposition to oppression.
See the video featuring Shirley Verrett’s 1966 recording of “Oh Freedom” followed by the lyrics.
The Old Testament stories of deliverance had held special meaning for black people held in slavery. See the video in which the Moses Hogan Chorale delivers a traditional interpretation of “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” The lyrics follow. One of the most versatile of the African American Spirituals, “Walk Together Children” urges unity of purpose and reminds singers and listeners of the promise of a better day to come. Although such gatherings were held elsewhere and by other communities, Watch Night services became a survival mechanism for African American bondspeople. In December of 1862, word of the forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation altered perspectives of Watch Night Meetings in black communities, both enslaved and free. In their final hours of slavery, Black communities spearheaded special Freedom’s Eve Watch Night services. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a white Unitarian Minister and abolitionist and the first Commander of the first Black Regiment in the Union Army during the Civil War, recalled hearing the celebration of African American soldiers as Emancipation approached. Many enslaved people recognized the hand of God in the events that had led to their freedom, and this lent a special sense of providence fulfilled to Watch Night celebrations.
In the north, Frederick Douglass joined others in what became an overnight watch and reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Half a century later, Bishop Turner was still deeply moved by what he had witnessed as a young pastor.
For African Americans held in slavery, Freedom’s Eve was a new beginning and an opportunity for a people to embark on a new life. Essayist, fiction writer, poet, and activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1825.
Early Watch Night Services featured a traditional evening of spirituals, sermons, and prayer that lasted until midnight or until dawn.
Watch Night Platform Services were generally designed to be lively, often beginning at or after 10:00 PM on Watch Night or Freedom’s Eve.
The service is timed to allow for the preaching of all sermons and a period of at least 10–15 minutes after the last sermon and song. Customarily, the stroke of Twelve or the end of the prayer signals an occasion for celebration in Thanksgiving for freedom from bondage, preservation from one year to the next, life itself, and the witnessing of a New Year. The United Church of Christ published a guide titled “Behold, A New Thing: Ideas for Celebrating a Service of Watch Night” in 2002.
Visit the companion website for the 2005 PBS documentary “Slavery and the Making of America,” which includes selected recordings of African American’s testimonies from their experiences in slavery. A week after the first Watch Night Service, a group of newly freed Blacks travel to a Union encampment in North Carolina.
Tonight I will be ringing in 2010 with prayer and praise at the Dayspring Community Church.  Our Watch Night service will be a lively time of testimony, praise, prayer and worship as the clock ticks into a new decade. She says she realizes in some instances, people may not be totally through the ordeals she mentioned.
As a journalist for more than 30 years, I placed a lot of trust in facts, but I also learned that facts alone don’t tell the whole story.

WABW bloggers Yvonne and Mae are back with a few of their friends to try again to trim their waistlines in our Melt the Middle Health Challenge.
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31, 2012, African American Christians engaged in their prayer posture, and will reflect upon the fact that approximately 11 million Africans were enslaved during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, where 10-20 percent of them died on the slave ships, and the exact number of enslaved Black children, women and men killed or died during slavery will never be known.
Martin King began by reflecting on Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. Being only quasi-free and given the illusion of equality, many African Americans derived hope from the well spring of their faith as they struggled for the realization of God’s perfect will for true liberation and justice. Is there value to entering a New Year by reflecting on how our enslaved ancestors waited and watched for their freedom? There are a number of staggering disparities in healthcare, public and private education, employment, wealth, and the justice system between black and white Americans. This image can be copied from the website on this page or from the 2008 African American Lectionary Watch Night material. Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915. After the recent increase in school fees, parents whose children attend the institution had to adapt to the new fees and students who don't have parents to sponsor them work harder to raise enough funds to meet up the fees. Some students where able to pay on time but some who had to readjust their pockets to the new fees could not meet up, thereby paying late. Please Sir, I am not sending you this message because of my sister alone, but for every student whose parent has worked hard to make sure that their children get the education they need to be future leaders.
No Nigeria should be made to pay schoolfees, the country is too blessed to subjugates her citizens into this mess and pooverty. The Government, i mean the "FG" in any "civilize society" is the supreme controlling authority. But white boys are the exception, according to a new study published in the journal Communications Research. They tallied the amount of TV watched and had the participants complete an 11-item questionnaireA intended A to measure overall feelings of self-worth. While it can be oneA measureA of clinical depression, that does not mean it characterizes or causes depression. If children do not have friends, setting up "light play dates" will help build socialization skills, a "really important aspect of life," Kazdin said. The concept of Watch Night, in various forms, has been a part of American Protestant tradition—particularly Methodism—for over 200 years.
While some enslaved men and women observed Watch Night services prior to the issuance of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the observation took on new meaning on the night of December 31, 1862—the night before the Proclamation became law in those southern states that had seceded from the Union.
African American people who had been held in slavery knew that the morning ahead would bring a momentous change, delivering them from a life of physical bondage into a life of freedom. Increasingly, modern gospel songs have also been added to Watch Night Service Celebrations, but in many congregations, African American Spirituals remain prominent. Thus, spirituals could be sung to comfort enslaved African people in the midst of the tribulations of slavery, and they could also provide important information to aid escape. The spiritual “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” references important Bible occurrences that spoke to the experience of enslaved communities seeking deliverance. As is the case with a number of spirituals, “Walk Together Children” offers layered meaning and emphasizes the coming reward. For enslaved women, men, and children in America, New Year’s Eve and Watch Night Service had once been among the saddest nights of the year. The service provided the mental and spiritual fortitude and solace needed to prepare for the distressing separation from parents, children, siblings, spouses, and friends that followed the Christmas holiday week on or near New Year’s Day, known to many as “Heartbreak Day.” These nights of prayerful tarrying and energetic festivities, according to scholar William H.
In addition to Freedom’s Eve Watch Night Services, African Americans and white abolitionists and well-wishers hosted services at sites throughout the country on Christmas Night, and on Emancipation Day, January 1, 1863.
No longer a date for sorrow and separation, New Year’s Eve became Freedom’s Eve, Emancipation Eve, and Jubilee Day on the African American calendar. Writers and diarists recorded these events to the best of their abilities, observing and recording significant moments as surrogates for newly freed African Americans, who had been legally barred—by physical punishment and even death—from learning to read and write while held as slaves. He described their “praying and ‘shouting’ and clattering with hands and heels.”19 Most of the men under Higginson’s command had recently escaped from slavery in Florida and South Carolina, and some had come from a plantation in Georgetown, South Carolina. He later wrote that “The effect of this announcement [of the Emancipation Proclamation] was startling beyond description, and the scene was wild and grand. A free African American, she became an orphan while still a toddler, but is believed to have been taken in by the family of her uncle, minister and educator William Watkins. Traditionally, these services featured the leaders, members, and choirs of one to two congregations. Observances may have unofficial starts earlier in the evening, when church leaders and congregants may choose to arrive earlier to tarry in prayer and prepare for the service by singing older, traditional spirituals and hymns. During this final period, the pastor, guest, or home preacher addresses the congregation, summing up the major themes of each speaker and, if possible, tying all sermons and selections to a general theme for the evening. The Music Ministry, church leadership, and congregants are invited to offer thanks, praise, and song for as long as the congregation and leadership desire. Meals served as part of the Watch Night Services include large traditional breakfast featuring pancakes or biscuits or the traditional African American meal of the New Year—collard or turnip greens, yams, and black-eyed peas. Festivals of Freedom: Meaning and Memory in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808–1915. I have had my share of New Year Eve parties with dance and revelry and even enjoyed quiet evenings at home to reflect and offer a moment of prayer.
I am stepping out into unfamiliar territory, not sure what’s ahead or where this path will lead. It is about moving forward in life with a belief that allows one to act or not act beyond one’s own limited understanding or abilities. For me, a faith-filled life anchored in a sovereign God is an adventurous and exciting one: so much to discover, so much unchartered territory to traverse.
All are hoping to trim it down in time for either their 40th high school reunion (Yvonne and friends) or Mother's Day (Mae and friends). Share news and other items you come across that speaks of your beliefs, that makes you think or ask questions.
Because this is still American Horror Story, that of course all looks fairly ridiculous, Jessica Lange seems mean, and for some reason the witches appear to be designed by Robert Palmer. The Emancipation Proclamation legally recognized that the Civil War was fought for slavery. Did the tradition originate in 1733 with the Methodist Movement or in the 1862 Freedom’s Eve celebrations?
He declared, “This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred and forty-seven years after the first Freedom’s Eve celebration, do African Americans still need to watch for freedom?
Thousands of black Americans are in bondage to drug addictions and substance abuse, including alcohol, marijuana, crack and cocaine.
Sutton of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania wrote the following poem which highlights the African American history of Watch Night.
Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915. My main reason for sending you this message is to draw your attention on how the Students of Lagos State University are been treated by the School board or whoever is in charge there. The school has a section on its website where students can register their courses for the semester (only available to the early birds that paid their fees within the time frame they gave), it is unavailable to those who pay late. Something must be done by the "FG" otherwise, the future of our succeeding generation is in serious DANGER!.
Before then, Watch Night had been one of a number of significant events in the Christmas holiday season for particular enslaved communities—who in some cases were given the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a bittersweet respite from a year of toil. In addition, there were a number of spirituals that evolved to directly express the desire for freedom, the pain of the slavery, or criticism of oppressors.

Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den, for example, reminded people of God’s power to provide protection from the unjust violence and the threat of death enslaved blacks faced daily. During slavery, the song was a joyful reminder of freedom and celebration to come, not only in Heaven, but also in earthly promised lands, including free states and territories.
The evolution of this day in the African American calendar is a testament to the power of change and transformation—spiritual, physical, and circumstantial—that can occur when a people determine to embrace what lies ahead. Wiggins, were in some cases “celebrated on December 27 or 28 to allow the slaves ample time to return to their own plantations for another year of toil and separation from family and friends.”14 Wiggins notes that “(t)he first minutes of the New Year found them on their knees in prayer. John Hope Franklin, President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation “gave hope to millions of blacks that a better day lay ahead, and it renewed the faith of thousands of crusaders who had fought long to win freedom in America.”16 Celebrations took on special meaning in African America’s Year of Jubilee. Heartbreak Day became Emancipation Day, and millions of African Americans left yesterday’s bondage behind them to claim the freedom that lay ahead. Charlotte Forten, a freeborn African American teacher volunteering on the South Carolina Sea Islands, recorded reminiscences of the joy of children who came to celebrate with her.
Joy and gladness exhausted all forms of expression, from shouts of praise to sobs and tears…Rue, a colored preacher, a man of powerful vocal power, expressed the heartfelt emotion of the hour, when he led all voices in the anthem, ‘sound the loud timbrel o’er Egypt’s dark sea. Harper began a career in domestic service and published a book of poetry at the age of 20. This theme can encourage a grateful heart, a recommitment to faith, a reverence for the sacrifices of forebears, or a call to embrace the church mission of the coming year.
Watch Night service helps center me between gratitude for past trials and blessings and a God-infused hope for the days ahead.
Though some African American Methodists can proudly pinpoint the 1733 origin of the tradition, Freedom’s Eve likely has the strongest link to the widespread celebration of Watch Night in several African American Christian churches. The poem can be read during Watch Night services or printed in the church bulletin as a reading. This makes those paying late study in fear and discomfort as they may not be graded for the semester, since their courses were not registered online and this could lead to their faliure and withdrawal from school.
The week represented the only time available to spend with loved ones held on other plantations. While these songs had been sung privately to evade discovery by slaveholders, overseers, and patrollers, they became songs of open celebration and jubilee after the fall of slavery in the United States. Relaying assurance in the Promised Land “Canaan’s shore,” the spiritual must have taken on broadened meaning as Emancipation dawned.
During the first “Freedom’s Eve,” with Abolition just hours away, and even in today’s African American congregations, “Walk Together Children” is a celebration of the victories already won and a promise of triumphs to come.
But for the remaining hours of darkness they were one their feet dancing the Ring Shout…”15 This nightlong celebration of West African- and Christian-derived prayer, ritual, and dance was followed by the inevitable, distressed parting from loved ones that could last for a year or more.
For the largely white Methodist congregations, holding “covenant services” for the New Year, the term “Watch Night” had been heavily associated with the notion of watching for the presence or coming of God. One young girl, Amaretta, cried, “O Miss, all I want to do is sing and shout,” according to Forten. Jehovah hath triumphed, his people are free.’”23 Douglass recalled that the gathering celebrants did not want to leave the festivities. By age 26, she became the first woman hired by the Union Seminary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Over the years, however, Watch Night Services have evolved dramatically in African American congregations. Over the course of the evening, approximately 4–7 members of the ministerial staff or guests (often from local or affiliated churches) come forward to deliver brief sermons, ranging in length from 7–15 minutes. After this summation, the pastor, guest, or home preacher leads the church into prayer as the final moments of the year approach.
Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk about Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation. Turner, calls Watch Night Service “the ultimate year-end opportunity.” She has been excited about this evening’s service, which we will have in our own meeting place this year. Black Americans have the freedom to own property and to obtain lucrative wealth in a free capitalistic market economy, to acquire an education, and even to become the president of the United States.
On Freedom’s Eve, the Civil War was still raging and leaving destruction in the wake of each battle. For enslaved African Americans and black congregations and families, “Watch Night” was a blessed occasion of prayerful thanksgiving in anticipation of the legal freedom that would arrive with the stroke of midnight. But for the majority of African-descended people in the United States—several million people—this Watch Night marked their final night of legal enslavement upheld by the federal government.
At the dawning of Emancipation, the young pastor was surprised to find a throng gathered as his church long before sunset, and he hurriedly ran to procure a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to read for congregants and guests. She became a full-time writer, abolitionist, and antislavery speaker around 1853.29 This poem is one of the writings she published in response to the Emancipation Proclamation and the abolition of slavery.
In the post-World War II era and throughout the late 1960s, Watch Night Platform Services became increasingly popular. These sermons are usually connected to a broader theme or are based upon individual themes or verses that have been assigned to each speaker.
The church can be invited to pray while standing, while gathered at the altar, or while kneeling at their seats. For the past  few years, our congregation has joined with other churches for worship and fellowship. On one hand, some African American worship leaders fully honor the Freedom’s Eve tradition during Watch Night.
We must return to God and beg for forgiveness and that our demand for self rule was a mistake. This is your last chance as governor in Lagos state, so be on your own and stop obeying Tinibu.
As the final event on the holiday calendar, Watch Night became the most somber of the celebrations.
In response to the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln’s call for volunteers, numbers of African American men had already joined the Union Army. For many, the Proclamation was a sign of God’s promise and an impetus to forge ahead, escape bondage, and seize freedom.
While more elaborate services, sometimes featuring singular guest speakers and choirs, have become increasingly popular in many congregations, Platform Services are an option that hearkens back to more intimate service structures. In between sermons, soloists and choirs render selections, or congregational songs or hymns are sung. Black Americans are living the American dream as doctors, lawyers, engineers, college professors, etc.
Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued. By war’s end, 200,000 African American men would serve in the Union Army and the Union Navy, and at least 38,000 African American soldiers would die.8 The image of apocalyptic circumstances, in which the moon ran down in a purple stream, the sun forbore shining, and the stars disappeared, was anything but farfetched. For others, it was the first step toward the freedom they now could hopefully watch for, and a sign that their prayers of so many Watch Nights past were now being answered. Black Americans have passed through academic halls in both predominantly black and white institutions. But as African Americans celebrated Jubilee and boldly faced the struggle for full freedom that lay ahead, they took solace in their Christian faith.
While we will never forget the sacrifices of ancestors who toiled under the oppression of slavery, the memory of Freedom’s Eve and the commemoration of Watch Night Services are potent reminders of the day African Americans put slavery and its attendant degradation behind and determined as a community to “strain forward” to the freedom that lay ahead. Though a minority, blacks are sitting in some of the highest offices in judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government. They also declared their determination to hold on to their heritage and their right to freedom.
Hence, some persons may question if there are any rational justifications for black churches to continue the African American tradition of watching for freedom.
In this Psalm, Moses distinguishes the eternal nature of God from the finite nature of human beings. The song lyric “Why Not Everyman?” spoke to an awareness of equality of all people under God, and to a determination to claim God’s promise and to stake a claim as citizens in a hostile country.
Moses muses how God has been a dwelling place and source of refuge for the children of Israel for all generations (Psalm 90:1). In libya oil wealth made school fees a right for her citizens and housing was another priority. The theives go after the poor, and past police road blocks target the poor, and the real culpits are untouchable.

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