I love history mainly because it is like a clock that tells the story of time traveled. However, history and truth are two very different things when compared to the way His-Story tells it. What we have been told is not, in most cases, true at all in any respect. For example, most people have no idea where or why we celebrate most traditions. This is to include the “greatest stories ever told” – Christmas and Easter! The construct of religion drives our thinking as it relates to the direction of our lives.
Regardless of what we are told; our faith causes us to believe. Let me just add that faith is believing true that which is unseen. I only need to remind you of the representation of the deity you probably worship because, in our heart of hearts, we know that this person represented could not have come out of that region of the world where they said he was born. Yet, our faith tells us to believe, and most do without question as to what we are told. I know that made you go hmmm!
Here is another example: This year Americans will celebrate another anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which is another one of those misconceptions of America’s past. The fact is Lincoln did not free anyone with this proclamation. It was issued for and to the Negro’s held in bondage in the Confederacy and not the slaves of the Northern States under his authority. Coming out of this came what has become known as “Watch Night” on New Year’s Eve that follows an African American tradition dating back more than a hundred and fifty years.
The first Watch Night occurred on Dec. 31, 1862, as abolitionists and others waited for word via telegraph, newspaper or word of mouth that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. “A lot of it, at least, the initial Watch Night was really celebrated in the newly freed black community. Yet for a people largely held in bondage, freedom is a powerful idea — and that’s what the Watch Night tradition embodies” says Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Most of us don’t know that part of the historical tradition. It has somehow been connected to religion and not its original origin that was the hope of freedom for people of African descent held in bondage. So at midnight, many congregations will pray the old year out and the New Year in asking for God’s blessings. The truth is Watch Night is deeply rooted in the history of blacks in America; it is especially relevant at a time when the community is still struggling with sermons that should be designed to address the progressive and regressive moves we have been through as a people.
I remind you that the proclamation did not free anyone. The document that was supposed to free the slaves was the 13th Amendment, but it did not do that either. However, Lincoln’s goal was accomplished as the proclamation did change the character of the conflict from a war to preserve the union to a war for human liberation. In reality, it was a way to obtain the manpower by using black in what to that point was a losing effort. The cultural bandits have rewritten the truth. You are the holders of the light, and the light is the truth.
It was recorded that an enslaved person had a wonderful reminiscence of the event by saying, “I was on Master Johnson’s plantation and a soldier came, and he took out a little piece of paper and suddenly said we were free”. Now I ask whose plantation are you on! So I suggest that you know what it is you believe because it is more often than not – not true. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving.