Happy New Year to Everyone! We made it through 2012 with the election of Pres. Obama but have not quite finished the work of avoiding the “fiscal cliff” and completing other unfinished business yet. As many of you who subscribe to LegalSpeaks are aware, a Christmas holiday hiatus known as a vacation was in order. Beginning January 2, 2013, LegalSpeaks will resume with regular blog posts and articles on progressive legal and political news.
Today—January 1st marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation where President Abraham Lincoln freed all the slaves in the confederate states. The Emancipation Proclamation declared that on January 1, 1863, all persons held as slaves in “rebellious areas” shall be forever free. This move paved the way for the 13th amendment to the Constitution which codified the emancipation in our constitution. In Washington, DC the Emancipation Proclamation is briefly on display at the National Archives for the next several days. And on December 31, 2012, thousands were able to see several pages of the original Emancipation Proclamation as the Archives stayed open past midnight–in honor of the 150th anniversary.
On December 31, in many black churches across the country, services known as “watch night” services are held in memory and honor of the slaves and also freed black persons who waited up past midnight on January 1, 1863 for slaves to be free. In many black church watch night services, congregants pray on their knees as the new year comes in—just like many slaves and freed blacks may have done on December 31, 1862. Honoring this practice, the Archives remained open past midnight on December 31. While growing up, I remember my mother, who grew up in the Jim Crow South, praying on her knees, whether in church or at home, as the clock struck midnight and the New Year came in. And if there ever was a time that we need prayer as a country, it is now.
As we as a country embark on this new year, let us remember that no barrier should stand in our way of doing the right thing. President Barack Obama proclaimed that in honor of the 150th anniversary, we should “begin this new year by renewing our bonds to one another and reinvesting in the work that lies ahead, confidant that we can keep driving freedom’s progress in our time.”
As we enter the new year, some upcoming Legalspeaks articles in 2013 may include:
• The Fiscal Cliff and its Effect on Women and Minorities
• President Obama’s First Term in Review
• Pres. Obama’s 2nd Term and Implications for Women and Minorities
• President Obama’s Abraham Lincoln Moments
• Voter Suppression and its Aftermath
• Gun Control Now-Not Later
• Will it be a Happy New Year for Most Working Americans?
• What will it Take to Make Congress Work?
• What do Diverse Women Want in a 2nd Obama Term?
• The Good, Bad and Ugly from 2012
As always, thank you for your reading, subscribing and commenting on Legalspeaks.
Happy New Year!
Debbie Hines, Esq.