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Rev. Jackson launches national “Watch Night/ Emancipation Day” movement

January 3, 2019




January 3, 2019

Rev. Jackson launches national “Watch Night/ Emancipation Day” movement


“The proclamation was the most consequential presidential executive order in the history of the United States. It should be celebrated and honored.” - Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. 


Launching a nationwide movement to declare January 1st “Emancipation Day,” Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. celebrated New Year’s Day with a historic commemorative program opening with a powerful

video of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. citing that “America freed the slaves in 1863 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln but gave the slaves no land or nothing in reality to get started on,” followed by a beautiful rendition of the song Trying to Make Heaven My Home by Santita Jackson.


PUSH Excel society orators, Gabriel Gatheright, 14, an eighth grader, Brooke Gordon Junior High School, Faith Jenkins, 8, third grade, Calumet Christian Grade School, Rutherford Simmons, 11, sixth grade, Southwest Chicago Christian School and Carleigh Lewis, 10, fifth grade from the Sutherland Elementary School, compellingly recited the entire Emancipation Proclamation document.


Rev. Jackson said that most people have neither read the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln nor understand its significance. He is asking ministers across the nation to have their members study the first legal document that legally freed some slaves.


Flipping the history pages back 156 years, Rev. Jackson, an avid reader, explained how the December 31, 1862 Watch Night services began. It was on that night that slaves across the South were on edge praying and hoping throughout churches that President Lincoln would sign the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863—their liberation day.


Joining Rev. Jackson and giving their reflections of the historical weight and consequence of the Emancipation Proclamation: Rabbi Frederick Reeves, K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Temple, Rev. James Meeks, Salem Baptist Church, Rev James Bryson, First Church of Deliverance, mayoral candidates Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Dr. Amara Enyia, Bob Fioretti and addressing the audience by phone: National Urban League and Rev. Al Sharpton, founder/president, National Action network Rev. Jacques A. Conway, superintendent of the Chicago Southern District of the Methodist Church, NAACP President/CEO Derrick Johnson, Marc Morial, president, National Urban League.


Rev. Rodney Patterson, Rev. Dr. Michael Eaddy, People’s Church of The Harvest COGIC, Dorothy Leavell, chairman, National Newspaper Publishers Association and many stakeholders, supporters, history buffs and ancestors were in  attendance.


To view the historic January 1, 2019 Emancipation Day video, please click on the following link and share:



Chinta Strausberg