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Watch Night Service In The Black Church In America: 150 Years After The Emancipation Proclamation
Watch Night Service, or Freedom's Eve, started on December 31, 1862 as Black people gathered to wait news about slavery being over. January 1, 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation that legally ended slavery.
December 31, 1862 the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in black communities in America. The Watch Night service can be traced back to gatherings also known as “Freedom’s Eve.” Residents of Rochester, New York, joined Frederick Douglass in a vigil in anticipation of the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect at midnight. On that night, enslaved and “free” Afrikans came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipatio