Reminder: Watch Night/First Day celebrates 150th anniversary of the
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[December 29, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Abraham
Lincoln Association is hosting two events to celebrate the 150th
anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On Monday at 8 p.m.
there will be a watch night service at Westminster Presbyterian
Church in Springfield to celebrate the coming of emancipation. On
Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site, a
portrayer of President Abraham Lincoln will sign the Emancipation
Proclamation and have a public news conference to answer questions.
A Frederick Douglass portrayer and others will join the president
Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Old State Capitol State
Historic Site are co-sponsoring these events with the Abraham
On Dec. 31, 1862, 150 years ago, American
slaves, freemen, abolitionists and common folk sat in churches,
meeting houses and fields all over the nation, watching and waiting
for the first day of freedom to roll in. Freedom was to occur the
next day, on Jan. 1, 1863, when President Lincoln was to issue a
proclamation emancipating, or freeing, the slaves in states or parts
of states that were in rebellion against the Union. It was a very
As they watched and waited, people sang songs and testified to
the glory and the goodness of the Lord. They gave thanks to
President Lincoln, whom many called Father Abraham, and famous
abolitionists like Horace Greeley, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd
Garrison and others who strongly and relentlessly urged Lincoln to
emancipate the slaves. They also gave thanks for the sacrifices of
slaves themselves who had boldly risked all in a desperate push to
crack open the door to freedom and to the death of slavery.
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The Watch Night/First Day events will recreate the excitement and
joy of 150 years ago. The words and songs of the participants will
come to life.
In addition to the primary sponsors, the following groups also
have contributed to the program: Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Library and Museum, Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, Lincoln
Home National Historic Site, and Springfield and Central Illinois
African American History Museum.
[Text from file received from the
Looking for Lincoln Heritage