Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat Tony Fields sings “Wade in the Water” with a community choir during a watch night service at the City Auditorium Monday night.

Watch service celebrates Emancipation anniversary

Published 12:03am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

NATCHEZ — Today marks more than just the start of a new year; it also marks the 150th anniversary of the day President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed all enslaved persons in Confederate territory to be forever free.

More than 100 people gathered Monday evening in the Natchez City Auditorium to celebrate the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at a watch night service hosted by the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African American Culture and Natchez National Historic Park.

“Today is a day of celebration,” NAPAC Museum Director Darrell White said.

A watch night service — which now occur at a number of area churches on New Year’s Eve — is a late-night Christian service. Historically, many slaves gathered together on the 1862 New Year’s Eve to await news of their freedom.

Monday, the Freedom Fellowship Choir sang several spiritual songs, including “Wade in the Water,” which White said Harriet Tubman used to covertly instruct escaping slaves to wade through the water to throw off dogs tracking them.

White also said slaves were given other hidden messages, such as “Look for the drinking gourd,” which meant for slaves to follow the Big Dipper because it contained the North Star.

White talked about the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation on slaves, the Underground Railroad and the use of black soldiers in the Civil War.

White also noted that the Emancipation Proclamation anniversary also falls on the last day of Kwanzaa.

“(Today) being New Year’s Day and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the word for (today) is imani, which means faith, and that means to believe with all our hearts in God, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

 

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Majority of folks in the South don’t give a second thought about this for they are looking at the present(future) than at a past things of a 150 years ago! History is fine a dandy but when its used to deface people today that bad things happened a 150 years ago is senseless. Why can’t this ever end and lets get Natchez and the Nation back on top??!!

  • Anonymous

    THAT’S UNDERSTANDABLE COMING FROM YOU khakirat. I DON’T THINK YOU KNOW WHO AND WHAT THE MAJORITY ARE. WHY DON’T YOU TAKE A SURVEY, YOU ARE IN A BETTER POSITION THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THIS AREA TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. IT’S PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND YOUR WOUNDED MIND THAT KEEPS THE FIGHT GOING. YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE THAT BELIEVE DEARLY THAT WHITE-IS-ALWAYS-RIGHT. IT’S NOT GOING TO END BY A LONG SHOT BUDDY. IF YOU CAN’T BEAT US, YOU MIGHT AS WELL JOIN US. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    You can’t read and understand plain English and I’m not trying to beat anyone!! I guess this is going to end up as a parade huh”??!!

  • Anonymous

    Buddy, modern blacks are a white supremacist’s dream. They constantly kill each other and stay focused on events that took place 150 years ago while largely being uneducated, poor and oblivious to the fact that they are still owned by white Democrats who use them to stay in power and enact policies that perpetuate that situation. When folks like khaki say y’all need to focus on NOW, it is for your own betterment but you, of course, are too stupid to know it. You’d rather run around yelling “racist” at every bump in the night and continue your people living in squalor, totally dependent on the white man’s money for your meager existence.

  • vilou09

    Ahhhh-mennnnn!

  • Anonymous

    While I agree we should focus on the present, I don’t see how celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation is defacing anyone. But if it isn’t ok for the black folks to remember their history, then how bout the whites…..spring pilgrimage anyone?

  • Benard

    Oh, so Mr. Khakirat determines what “black folk” should celebrate and not celebrate, lol. Typical. This article is negative in your opinion because it shows how truculent some people can be. Your comment is absurd.

  • Benard

    Quack, you are are what “webster” calls a charlatan. Do you share the same dream as a white supremacist since you know what they dream? To make a comment about blacks being uneducated, poor and killers is like someone stating that white men are pedophiles, meth users, and mass murderers – which is also a very sophomoric statement. Stop trying to police the black race, adults make decisions and live with the consequences, good or bad. If you aren’t doing anything to help improve humanity, I suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself, as your buddy Khaki stated, “let’s get Natchez and the Nation back on top.”

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    If you pay strong attention the majority of the locals in the Miss-Lou don’t support the Spring or Fall Pilgrimages but a certain click if you get my drift??!! What I’m telling you is that I live for today not the past and if more felt as I do Natchez might start booming economically??!!

    In a message dated 1/2/2013 9:28:52 A.M. Central Standard Time, notifications@disqus.net writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    lilslugger wrote, in response to khakirat:
    While I agree we should focus on the present, I don’t see how celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation is defacing anyone. But if it isn’t ok for the black folks to remember their history, then how bout the whites…..spring pilgrimage anyone?

    _Link to comment_ (http://redirect.disqus.com/url?url=http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2013/01/01/watch-service-celebrates-emancipation-anniversary/#comm ent-753310975:9bY3qu4_r8iJ4zeJFV3n4Azx3QA&imp=60790f6a-0177-467f-bd12-55088e 184e87&zone=notifications.clicks&forum=natchezdemocrat&thread=1002341147)

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps you should recheck Webster. I look to gain nothing.

    Only about half of black males graduate high school. One in three black males can expect to do some jail time. 1 in 3 blacks live in poverty. The murder rate among blacks is 25 times that of whites, almost all of it black on black. I could go on and on. I cannot imagine someone who hated blacks (supremacists) treating them worse than blacks treat themselves and each other.

    Blacks are being played and they don’t even seem to see it. My complaint is that people like dave-douche perpetuate that problem. Anytime someone points out a serious issue, and offers advice, folks like him stick their fingers in their ears and yell “racism”. Meanwhile, the dropouts continue, the murders continue, and the imprisonment continues. I offer solutions all the time but they fall on deaf ears because they require individuals to look at themselves, evaluate their values and culture and change their behavior. Instead they’d rather celebrate some event of 150 years ago that they have completely squandered in modern times.

    Instead of working in the fields cultivating crops every day, modern blacks work in the community and voting booth cultivating votes. For a pittance they trade their pride and self-worth for promises of a better life that never comes in anything more than maybe a minor increase in government stipends. Oh, the new master is a good Master no doubt but he is a Master just the same. His name is the Democratic Party and like the slaves of old, him being a good Master, they take his name and stick with him though thick and thin. “He loves us”, they say as they squalor in what is essentially his refuse. They keep him fat and rich and he throws them scraps and they say, “Thank you Master” as they celebrate their “freedom”. It would be funny were it no so seriously sad.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Free country huh”!!