Monday, December 31, 2012

Watch Night

watchI love history as it should be like a clock that tells the story of time traveled. However, history and the truth, is very different than the way HisStory tells it. What we have been told is not, in most cases, true. For example, most people have no idea where or why we celebrate most traditions. This is to include the “great stories ever told” - Christmas and Easter! The construct of religion drives our thinking as it relates to the direction of our lives.

So, regardless of what we are told our faith causes us to believe. Let me just add that faith is believing true that which is unseen. I only need to remind you of the representation of the deity we worship because in our heart of hearts we know that this person could not have come out of that region of the world where Christ was born. Yet, our faith tells us to believe and most do not question what we are told. I know that made you go hmmm!

Here is another example: This year Americans will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation which is another one of those misconceptions of our past. The fact of the matter, Lincoln did not free anyone with this proclamation. It was issued for and to the Negro’s held in bondage in the Confederacy and not the slaves of the northern states under his authority. Coming out of this came what has become known as "Watch Night" on New Year's Eve, following an African American tradition dating back a hundred and fifty years.

The first Watch Night occurred on Dec. 31, 1862, as abolitionists and others waited for word via telegraph, newspaper or word of mouth that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. "A lot of it, at least the initial Watch Night, was really many of the free black community… Yet for a people largely held in bondage, freedom is a powerful idea — and that's what the Watch Night tradition embodies” says Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Most of us don’t know that part of the historical tradition. It has somehow been connect to religion and not its original origin which was the hope of freedom for African Americans held in bondage. So at midnight, many congregations will pray the old year out and the New Year in asking for God’s blessings. The truth is Watch Night is deeply rooted in the history of blacks in America; it is especially relevant at a time when the community is still struggling with sermons that should be designed to address the progressive and regressive moves we have been through as a people.

I remind you that the proclamation did not free anyone. The document that actually freed the slaves was the 13th Amendment. However, Lincoln’s goal was accomplished as the proclamation did change the character of the conflict from a war to preserve the union to a war for human liberation. In reality it was a way to obtain the man power by using black in what to that point was a losing effort. The cultural bandits have rewritten the truth. You are the holders of the light and the light is the truth.

It was recorded that an enslaved person had a wonderful reminiscence of the event by saying, “I was on Master Johnson's plantation and a soldier came and he took out a little piece of paper and suddenly said we were free”. Now I ask whose plantation are you on! So I suggest that know what it is you believe to be true. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective as I wish you and yours all the best in the coming year…

Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving.

No comments: