Chicago, IL (Monday, December 31, 2012) — Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
and Rainbow PUSH Coalition will hold a prayer service on New Year’s Day in honor of
the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Rev Jesse L. Jackson declares, “On this 150th anniversary we commemorate the most
bold, audacious, fundamental and most moral executive order ever signed. Abraham
Lincoln signed the most important document in America’s history, in addition to the
Constitution, in the midst of the Civil war and triggered a shift to end slavery and
the Civil war. On this day, I urge every household to retrieve a copy of this historic
document and read aloud to your families. I also urge every school to also retrieve a
copy of it, read it, display it and begin real discourse regarding its significance.”
The question was posed and those wondered, “Will Lincoln’s backbone carry him
through. Nobody knew. Abraham Lincoln took a steel pen in hand, dipped it in an
inkwell but then paused and put the pen down. To his own surprise, his hand was
It was not, Lincoln later insisted, “because of uncertainty or hesitation on my part, As he
put it at that decisive moment, I never in my life felt more certain that I am doing right
then I do in signing this paper. But the day had taken a toll. “ I have been shaking hands
since 9’oclock this morning, and my hand is almost paralyzed, the president lamented.
If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, he told witnesses and my soul is
in it. If my hand trembles when I sign the proclamation, all who examine the document
hereafter will say, He hesitated”.
Hesitation was the last thing on Lincoln’s mind. The south had fair warning that if
they did not return…I would strike at this pillar of their strength’, Lincoln insisted. The
promise must now be kept. Lincoln again took up his pen. Slowly but firmly, he wrote,
“Abraham Lincoln” in larger letters at the bottom of the document that declared all
slaved in the Confederacy “ forever free”. Letting out a burst of relieved laughter, he
glanced at his effort and declared that will do.
African- American churches in the nation's capital, and throughout the North, had
spent New Year's Eve in 1862 praying that Lincoln would not rescind the draft he
had released three months earlier, promising to make slaves in the 10 Confederate
states "forever free." When the executive order came, church bells pealed in wild
celebration. Freedom is the thing that rings, and 150 years ago, it rang in the New Year.
A tradition began Dec. 31, 1862, as many black churches held Watch Night services,
awaiting word that Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation would take effect amid a bloody
Civil War. Later, congregations listened as the president's historic words were read
The proclamation would not end slavery outright and at the time could not be enforced
by Lincoln in areas under Confederate control. But the president made clear from that
day forward that his forces would be fighting to bring the Union back together without
the institution of slavery.
Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, after
the Battle of Antietam, announcing that if rebel states did not cease fighting and rejoin
the Union by Jan. 1, 1863, all slaves in rebellious states or parts of states would be
declared free from that date forward.
This year, the Watch Night tradition will follow the historic document to its home at the
National Archives with a special midnight display planned with readings, songs and bell
ringing among the nation's founding documents.
The official document bears Lincoln's signature and the United States seal, setting it
apart from copies and drafts. It will make a rare public appearance from Sunday to
Tuesday — New Year's Day — for thousands of visitors to mark its anniversary. On
New Year's Eve, the display will remain open past midnight as 2013 arrives.
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will hold a prayer
service at 12:00pm-1:00pm at Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Inc.
What: Prayer Service
Who: Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr, Rainbow PUSH Coalition Staff,
When: Tuesday January 1, 2013
Where: Rainbow Coalition Headquarters
930 East 50th Street
Chicago, Il 60615
Rainbow PUSH Coalition–Keeping Hope Alive
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending
and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The
organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information
about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit http://www.rainbowpush.org or call (773)