THE EMPOWERMENT ZONE BLOG:THE HISTORICAL Significance OF “WATCH NIGHT” For African Americans Vol 3 Blog 6-

History of Watch Night Service- The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as “Freedom’s Eve.” On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free .When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year. Some of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate “how we got over.”

© DR. Fay Maureen Butler, 2013, Huldahs House Ministries Inc, Word Press

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