Monday, December 31, 2012
Although "Watch Night" did not begin in 1862 (the Methodists had been observing it since the 18th century), its significance among black folks has since become magnified because December 31, 1862 was the eve before President Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation" went into effect--decreeing that enslaved people in rebel states were free. After that, many African American churches transformed their normal religious watch night services into an observance of the beginning of slavery's end in America.
On January 29 at Essex County College, the Humanities Division (with our co-sponsors, the Community College Humanities Association and the Africana Studies Committee) will be hosting a day-long conference, "Emancipation: the Meaning of Freedom," which will focus on the meaning of "emancipation" 150 years after the implementation of the order--how was "freedom" articulated then, and what do we mean when we talk of "freedom" now?
I look forward to sharing more about our conference as we move closer to the date--it will be open to the public!