My Quest To Teach

December 30, 2013

Courageous Conversations about a New Watch Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 3:45 am

Courageous Conversations about a New Watch Night
by Wm Jackson, M. Edu.
My Quest to Teach

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to
live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of
others.” Nelson Mandela
The year is coming to a close, time is winding down to the
end of another year.  “Watch Night” or “Freedom’s Eve” is
approaching in America once again.
For several hundred years the end of each year is not just
celebrated for the conclusion of 365 days and the beginning
of  a new cycle, but the expectation for upward economic
growth, elevation of spiritual enlightenment, improved health
and higher expectations for family and cultural unity.
Few people understand or remember why there is a “Watch
or “Freedom’s Eve” in the Black community, thus
there should be courageous conversations to enlighten
and educate Blacks again about their history and what
“Watch Night”
or “Freedom’s Eve” truly is.

America celebrated freedom from slavery at 11:59 pm on
December 31, 1862.  The celebration was not only a physical
freedom from slavery; it was a spiritual release and on that
night, Blacks came together across the nation, apprehensively
awaiting the Emancipation Proclamation that had become law.
The first day of freedom was at midnight on January 1, 1863,
the first taste of freedom for many Black slaves in America.
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but
ourselves can free our minds!”  Bob Marley
The Emancipation Proclamation served as a catalyst for
change and aided slaves in their decision to seize their

One of the results of the new freedom was that Blacks joined
the Union Army and served to defeat the Southern forces by
rising up and claiming their opportunity for equality.  It is safe
to say that because of their participation in the Union military
forces, Blacks were an integral part of ending the Civil War
and abolishing the institution of slavery. The Civil War and
the ratification of the 13th Amendment eradicated slavery
on December 18, 1865.

The year 2013 is about to end and it is also the anniversary
of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Unfortunately, too
many Blacks are unaware of the historical significance.
January 1, 2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the
Emancipation Proclamation.
History will come and go and so will the memories of the
sacrifices of thousands of Blacks that protested, marched,
fought, died and were lynched.  Unfortunately, too many of
their descendants will be more concerned with the latest
Jordan’s, tablets, entertainment, alcohol, parties and showers,
and toys and gifts for their children while forgetting those
that died we risk becoming victims of assimilation and association.

“If we became students of Malcolm X, we would not have young
black men out there killing each other like they’re killing each
other now. Young black men would not be impregnating young
black women at the rate going on now. We’d not have the drugs
we have now, or the alcoholism.” Spike Lee

The knowledge of the past
is vital because the mistakes of
ignorance and complacency can
lead beyond physical slavery;
it extends to intellectual and emotional
Blacks are excited about new shoes, the
latest song from Beyonce, a new reality
series or a new video game laced
with death, profanity, cultural racism and intellectual destruction.
Ask many Blacks about educational software for their Pre-school
child or creating a reading library in their homes for their elementary
child struggling to read on grade level and many will provide
a myriad of excuses for not providing these types of resources.
Parents should establish a daily uninterrupted time exclusively
for reading to develop literacy and comprehension skills.
Excuses ringing with words of resistance to educational growth
and the potential for economic stability defy logic and wisdom.
The name may be different, the time of celebration maybe
modified to allow for parties, New Year’s Eve services in
African American congregations can be traced back to
gatherings on December 31, 1862, “Freedom’s Eve.”
Is there a need for a new “Watch Night Service” or
“Freedom’s Eve?” The attention for too many Blacks
is distracted and misplaced, not directed to educational
and spiritual growth, but accessing social media drama,
gossip, profanity, bullying and the lasts music.
To respectfully honor the Black church and its foundation
in African American history, the church is the foundation
of the community. The Black church was the place for
cultural growth and understanding, the Black church was
a place for educational obtainment and many HBCU’s
were built from the Black church.
The Black church’s role in the fight for freedom in the
United States is historical, and that history needs to be
preserved and shared throughout the year and not only in

Forgetting Black history is dangerously self destructive.
Ignoring Black history is a trail to the damnation of Black
culture which leads to expansion of penal institutions,
incarceration, enslavement, and death.
“Negroes should be more determined today than they have
ever been, because the mighty forces of the world are operating
against them.” Marcus Garvey



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