Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Free at Last: Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Church-going African Americans have a tradition. On New Year's Eve, we gather in a sanctuary to pray and sing in the new year at a Watch Night service. Being that I'm a gospel musician, the question isn't whether I'll attend a service but which service I'll attend.

So Dec. 31, 2012 found me in a pew at a special service. Our bulletin didn't tell a story from scripture. Instead, we got a lesson from history. Our ancestors weren't watching for God or the Christ Child. They stayed up to watch for freedom. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed on Jan. 1, 1863. This year marks its sesquicentennial.
Page one of the Emancipation Proclamation

There were caveats: freedom depended on a Union victory and slave-holding states that remained in the union, like Maryland, were exempted. The proclamation had no effect in Pennsylvania, which had enacted "An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery" in 1780.

But Pennsylvania, especially Philadelphia was a hotbed of abolitionism. As Professor Edward Raymond Turner noted in 1911,
Nowhere can the early history of abolition be studied to better advantage than Pennsylvania. There was organized the first formal protest ever made against slave-holding in North America. There arose the first In Pennsylvania was founded the first and the greatest of the abolition societies. In Pennsylvania was passed the first law to bring slavery to an end.

During the Watch Night service, I thought about all I've learned since I began blogging for Place Philadelphia and "If She Stood." So many times, the abolition of slavery is presented as the consequence  of the Emancipation Proclamation. But history knows the document resulted from years of advocacy and struggle.  On the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, I raise my voice to praise all those who stood for such a righteous cause.

This blog explores issues raised by If She Stood, a play by Ain Gordon and Nadine Patterson for the Place Philadelphia project. Please subscribe to receive posts in your email.

If She Stood will run for six performances:
  • Friday, April 26, 2013 at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 3 p.m.
  • Friday, May 3, 2013 at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, May, 2013 at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday May 5, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are on sale for the first weekend - BUY HERE.


  1. فرسان النيل هى الاولى فى نقل العفش بالدمام هي شركة نقل عفش بالخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والدمام وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والدمام وشركة نقل عفش بالاحساء وشركة نقل عفش بقيق وراس التنورة
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل
    شركة تنظيف بالجبيل


  2. شركة نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ابيات الشرقيه لخدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث الدمام
    نقل عفش الدمام
    نقل عفش بالدمام
    ان اردت نقل عفش منزلك بالدمام ابيات الشرقية من اهم شركات نقل العفش بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والقطيف والاحساء


  3. شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام وشركة نظافة بالدمام مؤسسة العطاء لخدمات مكافحة الحشرات ورش مبيدات بالدمام ونقل عفش بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والقطيف وتعتبر الاولى فى مجال مكافحة الحشرات بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر,شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل,شركة نقل عفش بالدمام,شركة نظافة بالدمام,شركة نظافة بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف
    شركة نظافة بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام


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