Like many, if not most, actions taken during the Civil War the Emancipation Proclamation was not just a simple humanitarian act. There were both political and military aspects. Contrary to popular lore, it did not free ALL the slaves. And it didn’t happen immediately.
According to the International African American Museum….
“On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order declaring enslaved people in rebelling Confederate States legally free. However, that order – known today as the Emancipation Proclamation – did not take effect immediately. In fact, the decree was not set to take effect for three months, not until midnight as the start of the new year.
So, the people knew change was coming. The people hoped freedom would come with it.
And they waited.
I can only imagine that some waited with joy, others with skepticism. We know some waited with fear, others with anger. But all waited with an extraordinary sense of anticipation. Change was coming.
On the eve of the proclamation, December 31, 1862, African Americans across the country gathered to keep vigil, waiting for news that the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect. In many places, it remained illegal for black people to gather, even for religious observances. Still, there were gatherings in churches and praise houses, perhaps even more gathered in secret.
In places where they could sing out and shout, stomp and pray in fervor for freedom, African Americans did. In places where joyful, anticipatory noise could be made or even where voices could safely whisper, you might have heard what is now a traditional call in some Watch Night Services” To see the rest of this message from IAAM CEO Tonya Mathews CLICK HERE
The IAAM wants to invite you to the 2022 Emancipation Proclamation Day Parade:
Saturday, January 1st
11:00 AM-12:15 PM
2-mile parade route starting at Burke High School, passing Marion Square and Mother Emanuel, concluding at IAAM’s construction site.Joining the start? Arrive at 9:30 AM at Burke High School: 244 President St, Charleston, SC 29403
Joining the end? Arrive at 11:30 AM at IAAM: Gadsdenboro St and Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401
For more on the history of the Emancipation Proclamation and it’s implementation, CLICK HERE