By Carole Copeland Thomas
The presidential election results had resulted in explosive consequences for the entire country. I was frantic for an endless amount of time. The minutes turned into hours, and the waiting period produced anxiety and a constant stream of prayer. News reports were sketchy at first, and then the images seared on my brain. The presidential election results angered some citizens who revolted and escalated their violence. And with each passing news report, I became more anxious. When would it end? How many would be injured? How many would be killed?
Finally, I heard from him after much anxiety. He was fine. His mother was safe. One of his sisters had been moved out of the country for safety.
During this awful time, the young man I was concerned about was my adopted Kenyan son, Naftal Mwangi Kiambo of Mombasa, Kenya. Sandra Jackson Jenkins and I had “adopted” him and paid for his high school fees following our 2005 trip to Kenya with eight other black women. Kenya’s contentious presidential elections of 2007 resulted in a rash of violent attacks on opposing political sides that killed over 1300 people. And even though Naftal and his family were unharmed, many people bore the brunt of the angry mobs who took their rage out on the innocent.
That incident is what I thought about when I called my niece on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 and told her to turn on her television set to the news channel and stay inside her home in Washington DC. She didn’t know what I was talking about because she was working at home and didn’t realize the angry mob was ascending the steps of the US Capitol.
A LinkedIn colleague of mine told me that her Washington, DC niece had to be evacuated from her home because of a bomb threat. I then posted on my social media pages that my friends and colleagues needed to check with relatives and friends in Washington, DC, urging them to stay home and not to venture near the US Capitol.
The attempted American coup had begun. In the most evil manner, sedition was activated when Donald J. Trump instructed THOUSANDS of white supremacists, Proud Boys, anti-government thugs, and the rest of the hardcore Trump supporters to march on the Capitol in defiance of the presidential election results.
This was NO different from 2007 Kenya. Just different circumstances, different candidates, and a lower death count. Five people dead this week, including one Capitol police officer hit over the head by one of the anarchists with either a fire extinguisher or a lead pipe. One Trump supporter with a military background can be seen on the window panes of the congressional chamber trying to break in. Police shot and killed her.
I have watched the replays of this destruction and carnage for the past two days in anger and horror. I guess trying to kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer last October wasn’t big enough. The same thugs decided to bring their Trump-inspired hatred to Washington, denounce the election results, and threaten to kill Vice President Pence, who refused to go along with their lies.
And it was all Trump-inspired. I watched his speech on Wednesday morning. It was filled with lies and filled with hate. And Trump’s message included instructions to march to the Capitol to show their strength, not their weakness.
To all of this in the aftermath of the invasion of the Capitol building while Congress was in session certifying the Electoral College votes… I say,
ARREST THEM ALL!!
No hesitation. No debate. No dismissal. No diminishing their crimes.
ARREST everyone who breached security, broke the windows, climbed the walls, and stormed into the Nation’s Capitol Building. And ARREST Donald J. Trump for inciting violence and criminal behavior.
I realize that Trump is within days of ending his presidency. However, his actions, encouragement, and pack of lies about who won the election confirm his lunacy. I also understand that the House of Representatives will bring up a new Impeachment charge on Monday, and the 25th Amendment is also being explored.
We will know the outcome of those actions by January 20th when civility returns to the Executive Branch of government during the Inauguration.
For now, I just want all of the anarchists ARRESTED and TRIED for their CRIMES.
It will take ten more commentaries to express my outrage about the lack of security during Wednesday’s invasion versus the over intensity of security at Washington’s Lafayette Square last June when rubber bullets, tear gas and night sticks thrashed about Black Lives Matter PEACEFUL protestors. The double standards are now evident and irrefutable. When you’re black, brown, or George Floyd, you’re automatically pounced on by multiple police officers.
When you're a Proud Boy, you’re SUPPORTED by rogue Congresspersons and escorted into the Capitol Building by Trump-supporting police.
Had that been Black Lives Matter supporters storming the Capitol Building, the dead bodies would have been stacked up by the dozens!!!!
ALL IN AMERICA!!
Wednesday’s historical invasion of the US Capitol had not happened since August 1814 when the British stormed and set fire to the building. The ease that the anarchists had in entering the Capitol on Wednesday suggests that SOME of the police MAY have been complicit or sympathizers of Trump’s wild lies about a stolen election. The Capitol police leadership has already resigned. More heads will roll in the days ahead. Congressional officials like Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Josh Hawley never flinched in supporting Trump’s lies, even after the invasion and after the Electoral College count resumed. They do NOT represent the integrity of the American people. They should be defeated in their next elections.
This has EVERYTHING to do with diversity, equity, inclusion, and multiculturalism. That’s why I am using strong language and NOT mincing words. Donald Trump impacted my business last Fall when he issued the Executive Ban preventing Diversity Training for federal agencies and federal contractors. I was bitterly upset about that ban and openly denounced it.
I am denouncing Donald J. Trump once again for being the primary orchestrator of the January 6th Capitol invasion. Arrests must be made, and investigations must continue.
Kenya healed from their nightmare post-election days of 2007-2008. We must do so also as we face the double standards of a fractured America.
May God protect the United States during these last few days of the Trump Administration. And may we be healed and restored under the Biden-Harris Presidency.
By Carole Copeland Thomas
May Joy and Happiness be with you throughout the holiday season. YES, COVID is real, and its impact ripples throughout the world. But just for this one day, let's celebrate Christmas with gusto and enthusiasm.
And to keep you up to date on the latest holiday trivia, here are some fun facts about Christmas and Hanukkah.
Merry Christmas to All!
Holiday Fun Facts
(Thank you, friends and colleagues, of the International Guide Academy, for sharing these facts during our Holiday Zoom party.)
1 When you add it up, the 12 Days of Christmas totals some 364 gifts! (On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....)
2 Oregon and North Carolina grow the most Christmas Trees in the United States.
3 EggNog originated in medieval England.
4 Coptic Christmas is on January 7th. This date works to the Julian calendar that pre-dates the Gregorian calendar, which is commonly observed. The countries include Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine. Armenia celebrates Christmas on January 6th, Three Kings Day.
For more information visit: http://bit.ly/3aV3EaL
5 The tallest Menorah in the world stands 36 feet and is located in Midtown New York in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza.
6 The original St. Nickolas, now known as Santa Claus, was born in 270 AD in what is now known as modern-day Turkey.
7 Jingle Bells was a song written in 1850 by James Lord Pierpont. Its original intent was to commemorate the annual sleigh rides held in Medford, Massachusetts, around Thanksgiving!
8 Nobody knows when baby Jesus was born! It probably was in the Spring, yet December 25th became the official date, perhaps in political alignment with a popular pagan holiday!!
9 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert POPULARIZED the decorated Christmas tree when they were pictured with one published in The Illustrated London News in 1848. They didn't' invent it because Christmas trees were found in Germany years before Victoria and Albert married. Interestingly, Prince Albert, a cousin of Victoria, was from Germany. They had nine children, and the British Empire reached its height of power under their rule.
10 It can take as many as 15 years to properly grow a Christmas tree to 6-7 feet. However, the average is 7 years.
For me, last year’s Juneteenth Celebration at Franklin Park here in Boston was the best. A city park filled with happy black friends, colleagues, and families all enjoying the moment of good weather, good friends, and definitely good barbecue. This annual celebration took place every third Saturday in June from early morning where you staked out your location till the evening when the charcoal embers smolder from the sizzle of the grill.
So Much Fun In Franklin Park
In addition to the families who turned out in the 2019 sunshine, many local, state, and national organizations proudly set up tables, stands, and entire corners of the park to display their emblems, symbols, logos, and signage in full recognition of Juneteenth’s real meaning…freedom for all in a joyous celebration. I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, founded 107 years ago on the campus of Howard University. I am from a family of Deltas, including my sister in law, an older daughter, cousin, and my late mother. Last Juneteenth, I hung out with my Delta sisters, who proudly pitched a red and white tent at the Franklin Park celebration. And we were not alone! We were surrounded by the other black sororities and fraternities, including Alpha Kappa Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho, Iota Phi Theta.
Those were just the black Greek-letter organizations present at last year’s Juneteenth Celebration. We were also joined by the NAACP, Urban League, Nation of Islam, various church groups, political campaigns, and healthcare advocacy organizations. I invited two of my clients to attend so that they could see the black community's interconnection in a unified celebration of harmony and happiness. My clients saw how they could proactively build a relationship with multiple groups and constituencies within an arm’s reach of their headquarters.
There were no speeches, no planned programs, no political debate. Just plain ol’ fun, with soul, hip hop, R&B, dance music and the electric slide blasting everywhere.
It was beautiful. It was Juneteenth 2019.
An Alternative To June 19, 1997
And it was a soothing way for me to block out June 19, 1997 the date I buried my 17-year-old son who had died in a single-occupant car crash that year days after graduating from high school.
Now I think of Juneteenth differently this year, where social distancing and an angry virus have robbed residents and citizens around the country from holding picnics or parades in commemoration of Juneteenth. We know this year there are large gatherings of peaceful protesters marching to restore dignity and safety in the black community following the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, D. J. Henry, Sandra Bland and far too many more. And we also know that Black Lives Matter is not just a catchy slogan by progressive liberals. It’s become a new “call to action” mounted on signs and placards and held by black, white brown, Asian, Arab, English, French, Kenyan, Brazilian, and Jamaican faces all over the world!
History of Juneteenth
The historic proclamation announced on a balcony by Union Army General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865 that ALL slaves throughout America were free. The announcement was made in Galveston, Texas, because selfish white Texas plantation owners kept their slaves in bondage long after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863. They even held onto their slaves after the last Civil War shot was fired in April 1865. So you can only imagine how astonished those ex-slaves were in Galveston tasting freedom for the first time, nearly 2.5 years after the fact.
It’s that historical reality that has made Juneteenth such a festive celebration throughout the country. Clearly there are other “black holidays and traditions” that have more recognition than Juneteenth. It’s just this year, with the triple pandemic - (1) COVID-19, (2) the teetering economic, and(3) racial strife, Juneteenth came center stage when a racist president picked June 19th to hold his “Make America Great Again” rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The voices of protest pushed back, causing the autocrat to move his political mob scene to the next day, June 20th.
Only the Appetizer
The bottom line is go on and celebrate Juneteenth. Make it a national holiday, take the day off from work, and hold countless socially distanced picnics and discussion in its honor. But don’t make it an end-all. It’s the appetizer in a full course meal that hasn’t even been cooked yet. That seven-course meal must include many more intentional initiatives, policy actions, police lobotomies, and economic course correctors if this country is going to really set sail in a new direction.
So enjoy Juneteenth. But make sure you save room for the remaining six courses that will really take us somewhere into a future guaranteeing justice, economic access, and freedom for all.
By Carole Copeland Thomas
Periodic flashbacks of conversations with my late mother, Gwendolyn Charleston Copeland, come roaring back in my head from time to time. “Yes, your grandfather’s eyesight was indirectly affected by the Great Influenza of 1918. He had to go to eye specialists for treatment before he fully recovered some years later,” my mother would remind me. My grandfather was Rev. James Arminius Charleston, a well-respected pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). During that era, he pastored Bethel AME Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the birthplace my mother. He later pastored other churches in the midwest and, ultimately St. Paul AME in Detroit.
That family story is one I am now researching and makes the 1918 Spanish Influenza a relevant historic event in my search for truth.
Little did I realize how much that event compares with the raging pandemic of COVID-19, some 102 years later. And when you watch the documentaries and read the books on that tragic event that killed between 50-100 million people worldwide, the similarities will make you weep.
Case in point. Pubic health officials begged organizers and elected officials to cancel the Fourth Liberty Loan Drive Parade in Philadelphia on September 28, 1918. Other cities realized the rapid spread of the deadly influenza virus and canceled their celebrations. Yet the Philadelphia decision-makers ignored the medical professionals and held the parade anyway. The results were a devastatingly high loss of life, killing World War I soldiers, ordinary families, and the innocent equally by the menacing flu virus.
An article in the September 2018 Smithsonian Magazine described it this way:
"Within 72 hours of the parade, every bed in Philadelphia’s 31 hospitals was filled. In the week ending October 5, some 2,600 people in Philadelphia had died from the flu or its complications. A week later, that number rose to more than 4,500. With many of the city’s health professionals pressed into military service, Philadelphia was unprepared for this deluge of death.
Attempting to slow the carnage, city leaders essentially closed down Philadelphia. On October 3, officials shuttered most public spaces – including schools, churches, theaters and pool halls. But the calamity was relentless. Understaffed hospitals were crippled. Morgues and undertakers could not keep pace with demand. Grieving families had to bury their own dead. Casket prices skyrocketed. The phrase “bodies stacked like cordwood” became a common refrain. And news reports and rumors soon spread that the Germans –the “Huns” – had unleashed the epidemic." *
Fast forward to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Alarm bells rung by medical professionals in the US and around the world about inadequate medical supplies and ventilators. Delayed responses by elected officials who are urged to put their countries, states, or municipalities in lockdown. Hospital beds in short supply. And the general public forced to quarantine at home to save their lives.
In both 1918 and 2020, healthcare professionals were first responders, industry experts, and clarion callers in a world turned upside down. The 1918 flu pandemic was further complicated by the fighting forces during World War 1. Healthcare professionals 102 years apart stand shoulder to shoulder in agreement with keeping the general public acutely aware of how to stay safe when a pandemic virus spreads like wildfire.
Our modern-day heroes are the men and women in healthcare. It doesn’t matter what positions they hold, from doctors to hospital administration executives to nurses, to lab technicians, to dietary aides to the cleaning staff. They ALL play a vital role in the fight against COVID-19. Overcrowded hospitals, nursing/veteran home scares, long hours, countless sick patients, and the steady uptick of the dying have become the order of the day for our frontline healthcare professionals. They deserve our attention and our respect as they wage germ warfare in regions across the world.
As my mother reminded me about my grandfather’s condition, we are reminded today about how one virus can knock out whole populations in the blink of an eye. In 1918, it was the flu virus. In 2020 the coronavirus looms large. And our future largely lies in the hands of millions of healthcare professionals who save lives through their sacrificial service throughout our communities.
To all of our healthcare professionals, we salute you because of your selflessness in the face of danger and uncertainty.
Resources For Research
World War 1: 100 Years Later
Philadelphia Threw a WW1 Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers The Flu
By Kenneth C. Davis
The Great Influenza
By John M. Barry
Watch this 2005 interview of John M. Barry. He authored the book: The Great Influenza: The A Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. The book details the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic. Sadly, we are repeating some of the same obstacles that occurred 102 years ago. It took him seven years to write this book.
1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic
Here is an excellent documentary about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Although a different germ, the response and reactions are eerily similar to what we are dealing with during this coronavirus pandemic. And to think someone 102 years later… We are repeating history!
The Center For Disease Control
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading national public health institute of the United States. It is a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability in the US and internationally. The CDC focuses national attention on developing and applying disease control and prevention. It especially focuses its attention on infectious disease, foodborne pathogens, environmental health, occupational safety and health, health promotion, injury prevention, and educational activities designed to improve the health of United States citizens.
The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. It is part of the UN Sustainable Development Group. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency's governing structure and principles, states its main objective as ensuring "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with six semi-autonomous regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide.
By Carole Copeland Thomas
Excitement is building in anticipation of the 27th Black History Empowerment Recognition Breakfast on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at the Colonnade Boston Hotel. The featured Keynote Speaker is Shironda White whose financial background and online technological expertise produced one of her latest ventures, CauseEDU. She will empower and inspire the expected sell-out crowd with her message of good news by showcasing the achievement of women entrepreneurs of color.
Shironda White is a social entrepreneur with a passion for higher education and community development. She is currently the Founder of three companies: CauseEDU, an online college financial planning platform; West Douglas Capital, a real estate investment and community development company; and Cocoa & Cupcakes, an allergy-friendly baked goods company. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, her 15-year career spanned financial services, philanthropy, and higher education management, working for organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
the US Department of Health & Human Services, and Harvard University.
Shironda is an alumna of Spelman College and received her MBA in entrepreneurship and social impact from Boston University's Questrom School of Business. She is very active with both of her alma maters and currently serves as a case competition coach and a frequent speaker at Boston University.
Shironda is originally from Oxnard, California, started her career in Atlanta, and moved to Boston in 2010.
Click Here for complete information about purchasing tickets or Tables of Ten.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available.
The Breakfast will be held from 8:30 am to 11:00 am on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at the Colonnade Boston Hotel.
Tickets are $65 per person. Only $50 for members of the Multicultural Symposium Series.
For More Information, Call Carole Copeland Thomas at 508 947-5755.
By Carole Copeland Thomas
Happy New Year To You And Your Family!
As we say goodbye to 2019 and give a hearty HELLO to 2020, let’s highlight eight traditional foods served around the world during either New Year's Eve or New Year’s Day. Some may sound so tempting that you’ll want to try one of two of them sometime this year or next New Year’s Day.
The traditions of food always add value and symbolism to cultures worldwide. Please share your food tradition with my network. Share your comments with me by emailing me at email@example.com.
May 2020 bring you inner joy and happiness throughout the next year.
Eight Food Traditions
1. USA Black Eyed Peas: African American Community and Southern Whites
Call it comfort food or Southern soul food, serving black-eyed peas, collard greens (or in my case cabbage), and (often) chicken are served for prosperity and good luck on January 1st in many African American homes across the US. And a white colleague, born in the South, reminded me that he, too, grew up with this food tradition!
And yes, I enjoyed both cooking and eating my black-eyed peas today on the first day of 2020.
2. Spain Twelve Grapes
At the stroke of midnight, they eat one grape for every toll of the clock bell. Some even prep their grapes -- peeling and seeding them -- to make sure they will be as efficient as possible when midnight comes.
The custom began at the turn of the 20th century and was purportedly thought up by grape producers in the southern part of the country with a bumper crop. Since then, the tradition has spread to many Spanish-speaking nations.
3. Mexico Tamales
Tamales, corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese, and other delicious additions and wrapped in a banana leaf or a corn husk, make appearances at pretty much every special occasion in Mexico. But the holiday season is an especially favored time for the food.
In many families, groups of women gather together to make hundreds of the little packets -- with each person in charge of one aspect of the cooking process -- to hand out to friends, family, and neighbors. On New Year's, it's often served with menudo, a tripe and hominy soup that is famously good for hangovers.
4. Japan Soba Noodles
In Japanese households, families eat buckwheat soba noodles, or toshikoshi soba, at midnight on New Year's Eve to bid farewell to the year gone by and welcome the year to come. The tradition dates back to the 17th century, and the long noodles symbolize longevity and prosperity.
5. Philippines Find 12 Round Fruits
For a favorable fortune in the Philippines, it’s not size or color or texture that matters, but rather shape. Avoid rectangles and triangles if you’re visiting this country for its New Year’s celebration, and instead, be on the lookout for anything circular in fashion. The idea is that circles represent coins and bring wealth, so the more circle shapes you can collect, the better. Most locals will attempt to get to 12 round fruits, each representing a month of the year.
6. Denmark Smash Plates
Jump Into The New Year
Tradition says you should—affectionately!—shatter them against the doors of your friends’ homes to ward off bad spirits and welcome happier vibes in the chaos. Another ritual that doesn’t require cleanup is jumping for joy at midnight—literally. As the clock ticks closer to midnight, Danish folk will try to climb to the highest peak they can—on top of chairs, tables, you name it—and jump into the New Year.
7. South Korea Soup For The Soul
There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup to warm the soul in the winter, but South Korea’s tteokguk, a dish made of broth, rice cakes, meat, and vegetables, is imperative to the country’s New Year traditions. South Korean New Year, known as Seollal, usually falls in late January or early February, and the soup is believed to bring those who eat it good luck in the new year
8. Italy Cotechino con Lenticchie
Italians celebrate New Year's Eve with La Festa di San Silvestro, often commencing with a traditional cotechino con lenticchie, a sausage and lentil stew that is said to bring good luck (the lentils represent money and good fortune) and, in certain households, zampone, a stuffed pig's trotter.
Carole Copeland Thomas and African American Food Traditions
Readers Digest: https://www.rd.com/advice/travel/good-luck-new-years-traditions-world/
By Carole Copeland Thomas
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 predated the importance of the famous 1862 Watch Night Services and originated with the Moravians in Germany many years earlier. The first Methodist church in America to celebrate Watch Night in the 1700s was St. George United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, the home church of Bishop Richard Allen, co-founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. However, it has become particularly important in the Black Church, with its evolution in the early to mid-1800s. The word evolved from “Freedom’s Eve” to “Watch Night” as the freed and enslaved blacks “watched” the clock strike 12 midnight, turning the course of the Civil War and freeing three million slaves in the states of the rebellion.
Wishing You The Best in 2020!
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. In the North, Abolitionists were jubilant that the “peculiar institution” was finally about to get dismantled one plantation at a time.
The booklet, Walking Tours of Civil War Boston sites this about this historic event:
“On January 1, 1863, large anti-slavery crowds gathered at Boston’s Music Hall and Tremont Temple to await word that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the much-anticipated Emancipation Proclamation (EP). Those present at the Music Hall included Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe, poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whittier and essayist, poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Also present was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who composed his Boston Hymn to mark the occasion.”
Now… Let’s Look Back...157 Years Ago Tonight...
It was on January 1, 1863, amidst the cannon fire, gunshots, 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) (a slave in Georgia freed by the EP) and the other three 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.
Following the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves were freed in stages, based on where they lived, the willingness of the plantation owner to release them and when Union troops began to control their area.
Black educator and community activist Booker T. Washington as a boy of 9 in Virginia, remembered the day in early 1865:
“As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. ... Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading, we were told that we were all free and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.”
The longest holdouts were the slaves in Texas, who were not freed until June 19, 1865, two months after the Civil War ended. That day is now celebrated as Juneteenth Day around the United States.
That is the history of Watch Night in the African American culture.
May you and your family enjoy a spirit-filled New Year throughout 2020. Thank you for ALL of your support you have given to me and my business throughout 2019.
By Carole Copeland Thomas
Five international holidays converge onto the scene every December (and early January) to make our schedules hectic, exciting, and pressure-filled. Wrapping gifts while shopping at odd hours of the night either push us into the spirit of happiness OR help us find an escape path until all of the celebrations are over.
Here are related links to five holidays with religious and nonreligious implications. You'll learn some interesting facts and figures that will make you scratch your head in amazement. The marathon includes Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. Learn new stuff and pass it on as the merriment continues throughout the holiday season.
Links and Resources For The Five Holidays
2 Winter Solstice
Parenting Article Written For Kids
History of the Christmas Tree
5 Three Kings Day
Here Are Your Zoom Video Instructions:
Topic: Street Smart Skills When Responding To Racism
Time: Aug 15, 2019 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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By Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP, CITM
If we’re not careful, the violence, destruction, and disruption our country is facing will permanently define the quality of life in America for generations to come. Hate crimes are on the rise and have been so since the November 2016 presidential elections. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine:
“A news report from The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, headquartered at California State University in Santa Barbara, has found that hate crimes rose 9% in 30 major American cities in 2018. That is the steepest rise since 2015, and the total number of hate crimes has now gone up for the fifth consecutive year. That is despite overall U.S. crime rates continuing to fall across the cities included in the report.”
This is no illusion. You just have to blink twice before the next mass shooting takes place. And there have been 250 mass shootings in America (where four or more have been killed) since January 1, 2019!
The latest guns-blazing tragedy in Dayton, Ohio left nine dead (ten with the shooter) and dozens injured. That’s nine dead in 32 seconds because of a high powered killing rifle.
Not to mention a young white supremacist drove more than 650 miles from Dallas, Texas toEl Paso, targeted a Walmart populated by back to school shoppers in a Latino neighborhood, and killed 22, leaving dozens more injured.
And don’t even talk about the countless school shootings our country faces each year. They embody the horrors of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. Enter an ex-student who hated Jews, African Americans, Mexicans and Muslims, who executed 17 students and teachers and wounded 17 more with a semi-automatic rifle he had legally purchased to conduct his killing spree.
It would take ten more commentaries to detail the other horrific mass shootings that have happened all too frequently in the last three years. This does not minimize previous shootings and murders that have occurred in America. From the 2015 Emanuel AME Church hate crime murder spree (with nine murdered) to the Columbine High School tragedy of 1999 (15 dead), these incidences are all reminders that violent explosions of rage and hatred symbolize the worst of American people. Jewish Synagogues, Sikh Temples, Muslim Mosques, Yoga Studios, Movie Theaters, Night Clubs, and Hotel Complexes overlooking Country Music Festivals. Just a sampling of where these executions have occurred in recent years. Too many. Too frequently. Too commonly repeated.
It’s just hard to ignore that the frequency of these killings is up since 2016. And as a diversity professional, I can’t just stand by and say nothing!
I recently posted this self quote on my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram accounts:
"Staying silent when others are mistreated signals your approval of the actions of the oppressor. Speak Up. Speak Out. Use Your Voice!"
Now more than ever, it’s up to reasonable and rational Americans to stand up and reject the violence that is ripping our country apart. Too often it’s gun violence manifested through weapons that should remain in the hands of military personnel, not civilians. Gun violence fueled by hateful and misguided citizens who have “drunk the Kool-Aid” of conservative cable propaganda news organizations. And too many misguided young white men who follow the rhetoric of the White House in an outrageous display of hatred, bigotry, anti-semitism, anti immigration and xenophobia, all in the name of “Make America Great Again.”
I cannot sit by quietly, because it could be my loved one next!!
A few weeks ago, it could have been my older daughter. She’s married, has two children, is gainfully employed, a homeowner, is an elected school committee member in her town, and has an earned doctorate in clinical psychology. Yet despite all of that, an older white man drove next to her car in a quiet Connecticut shopping center and blurted out the “n” word directly to her! Unannounced, with no provocation! THAT HAPPENED TO MY CHILD. It could have ended badly. Thank God it didn’t.
Who’s next? Who will stand up with me to denounce this madness?? Who has the courage to speak out against these atrocities in a fearless way that can push back on this cancer that has gripped our country?
If not you…WHO?
The great German theologian and Lutheran pastor, Friedrich Gustav Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) ultimately took a stand against Hitler, even though he initially supported his leadership. It cost him when he was thrown into a concentration camp until the end of World War II. Yet, he still spoke out against the madness of the Third Reich.
Niemöller said it this way:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
If we’re not careful, there will be no one left for us to protect and stand up for our rights. Gun violence, hateful white supremacy, and anti-immigration fear-mongering has to stop! If we don’t stand up and speak out, “there will be no one left to speak for me.”
Hate Crimes Rising:
The Number of Mass Shootings in 2019:
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©2021 All Rights Reserved Carole Copeland Thomas • (508) 947-5755 • Carole@mssconnect.com