By Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP, CITM
Black Eyed Peas,
Watch Night, and
The Power Of Prayer
Dear Valuable Friends, Clients, and Colleagues:
From my home to yours, I wish you rich blessings into the New Year. Here is a special article I created about the history of Watch Night Service in the African American community. The tradition predates the importance of the famous 1862 Watch Night Services and originated with the Moravians in Germany many years earlier. However, it is particularly important in the Black Church, with its evolution in the early to mid-1800s.
Wishing You The Best in 2016 !
Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA CDMP, CITM
The History Of Watch Night Services
In The Black Church
by Carole Copeland Thomas
With the festivities of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa now on full display, there is still time to reflect on the ritual of my ancestors and many other African Americans, whose forefathers sat around campfires and wood stoves in the twilight of December 31, 1862. There they sang spirituals acapella, prayed, and thanked the Good Lord for what was about to happen the next day.
A Look Back...153 Years Ago Tonight...
It was on January 1, 1863 amidst the cannon fire, gun shots, and burnings at the height of the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln sealed his own fate and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It begins with the following decree:
Whereas on the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, towit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
CAROLE' S TRANSLATION:
Effective January 1, 1863 all slaves in the states in rebellion against the Union are free.
Technically that is all that President Lincoln could do at the time. He used his wartime powers as Commander in Chief to liberate the "property" of the states in rebellion of the Union. The act did not free the slaves of the Union or border states (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, or West Virginia) or any southern state under Union control (like parts of Virginia). It would take the 13th Amendment (that freed all slaves in 1865), the Union Army winning the Civil War (April 9, 1865), and the assassination of President Lincoln (shot on April 14th and died on April 15, 1865) for all of the slaves to be freed. That included the liberation of the slaves in rebellious Texas on June 19, 1865 (Juneteenth Day) and finally the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 18, 1865, giving all black people freedom and permanently abolishing slavery in the US.
So in 1862 on the eve of this great era, the slaves "watched", prayed, and waited. My ancestors, including Bishop Wesley John Gaines of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and the other four million slaves prayed for divine guidance and an empowered Abraham Lincoln to do the right thing. It is as important today as the tradition of black people eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck.
That is the history of Watch Night in the African American culture.
May you and your family enjoy a spirit filled New Year throughout 2016. Thank you for ALL of your support you have given to me and my business throughout 2015.
Teaming Up For Team Goal-Setting
By Debra W. Gould, MS
Individuals must set their personal goals. Managers must set team goals. Then all goals must align with the strategic initiatives that the organization has set for the coming year. It all seems like a big hassle, and in many cases, it is. Sometimes it’s a futile exercise that’s not revised until the next year. But it doesn’t have to be.
You need to have a plan of where you want to go, and goal planning serves to help us set the destination as well as the course of action to get there.
Setting team goals is an important step in helping the organization reach its next destination. If your company is set on delivering the next generation of distribution technology, then your team goals need to contribute to this journey.
But you can’t set team goals in a vacuum—it takes team effort, team involvement and team buy-in. Your role as a manager is to make sure the team understands the organization-wide goals. Your job is also to facilitate the process of defining the team goals. The more you can involve your employees in setting goals for themselves and the group, the more committed to those goals they are likely to be.
When writing goals, it’s helpful to keep the following tips in mind:
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: email@example.com and
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.