While party goers rang in the New Year with hats and streamers, several African-American congregations throughout the state held watch night vigils, commemorating President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago today.
For African-Americans, the vigils hold a significant spiritual and historic meaning because it is said that slaves stayed up through the night on New Years Eve in 1862, waiting for word that the Emancipation Proclamation would become law and free them as slaves.
In Waterbury ,Rev. Larry Green with the Grace Baptist Church invited his parishioners to ring in the New Year in prayer and praise. In West Haven, the First Baptist Church held a watch night vigil on New Year's Eve beginning at 9 p.m. through 6 a.m.
There are several events scheduled throughout the state today (Jan. 1) to commemorate the 150th annivesary of Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in Confederate-held territories. The document would also pave the way two years later for the 13th Amendment.
Today church bells will toll at noon. In Hartford, events are planned at the state Capitol beginning at 11 a.m. with programs sponsored and organized in part by The Connecticut Freedom Trail ,The Amistad Committee, and the legislature’s African-American Commission.
In Bridgeport the Full Gospel Pentecostal Church on Beechwood Avenue will hold a special service at 11 a.m.