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150th Emancipation Proclamation, Watch Night!

  • Broadcast in Education
The Gist of Freedom

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Join The Gist of Freedom as Preston Washington welcomes Historian Dr. Bradley Skelcher for a lively discussion about The 150th Anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation, African American's New Year's "Watch Night" Celebration!

John Henrik Clark~ "History Is A Compass That People Use To Find Themselves On The Human (Spiritual) geography."

Black Methodists and Baptists celebrate Watch Night, December 31, 1862: the Emancipation Proclamation would go into effect at midnight. The basis for the celebration in African American churches today.

The Emancipation Proclamation applied only to enslaved Africans of the Confederate States. The prayer meeting congregation depicted in Carlton’s painting consists of former enslaved Africans that migrated to Union territory during the Civil War. 

Carlton’s painting is variously called “Watch Night — Waiting for the Hour” or ” Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st, 1862.” It was sent to President Lincoln by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison 

The painting in 1864 circulated widely as an engraving (below). 

It now hangs in what is called the Lincoln Bedroom, really that president’s study and Cabinet Room, over the desk upon which he signed the Emancipation Proclamation on the afternoon of New Year’s