Monday, December 30, 2013


Nearing New Year's Eve of 2012, I received some very interesting news about a member of my family tree,  an ancestor, from my cousin in Memphis who is very DEEP into genealogy and is FOREVER researching the family history.  Her latest update for us was about my great- great grandmother, Lucinda Westbrook (my grandfather Neely's grandmother) .
While researching at the courthouse in West Point (both of my parents are from West Point) , my cousin found a deed from 1881, which showed that Lucinda purchased 4 acres of land for $30 (Thirty dollars) . Although she was married to Henry Westbrook at the time, he is not listed on the deed.

Dang, Y'all ..... a BLACK WOMAN with barely a foot out of slavery ..purchased some land on HER OWN in West Point , 1881 !!!! 
Did I say..BLACK??!!! Did I say WOMAN???!!! Did I say MISSISSIPPI ??!!!
Yes, I think I did !   AMAZING!!!

Don't tell we those Westbrook/Neely women ain't got it GOING ON!!!!!! 
Oh yes we do !!!!!   Woo Hoo!!!!

Going into the New Year , I have just one more reason to add to the list of many of why  I am SO PROUD of being me!

My advise to each and everyone out
there is, as always : 

Be You ! Do You ! SHINE !

Watch Night and New Year’s Eve 

in Honor of Emancipation Day

With such interesting news about a relative so close out of slavery, thoughts about our traditional New Year's Eve celebrations bring feelings of a deeper emotional connection to Watch Night services that African Americans traditionally observe on New Years Eve. 
Watch Night dates back to the end of the Civil War, with gatherings across the South on December 31, 1862, known at that time as "Freedom's Eve." In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln declared his famous Emancipation Proclamation, which set slaves in Confederate territories free as of January 1, 1863. As a result, African Americans across much of the South held religious services, in which they praised and worshiped God as they watched the New Year and freedom arrive at midnight. At the stroke of midnight, it became January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy throughout the South as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Since 1863, African Americans began observing Watch Night and New Year’s Eve in honor of Emancipation Day.

William Tolman Carlton’s painting is variously called “Watch Night — Waiting for the Hour” or ” Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st, 1862.” It was sent to President Lincoln by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.
The makeshift pulpit is made of boards salvaged from crates. The minister’s timepiece reads 11:55.
Carlton’s painting is variously called “Watch Night — Waiting for the Hour” or ” Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st, 1862.” In 1864 and also circulated widely as an engraving (below).
The painting now hangs at the White House in Washington D.C.  in what is called the Lincoln Bedroom, really that president’s study and Cabinet Room, over the desk upon which he signed the Emancipation Proclamation on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, 1862

Title: Watch meeting, Dec. 31, 1862--Waiting for the hour / Heard & Moseley, Cartes de Visite, 10 Tremont Row, Boston. Creator(s): Heard & Moseley, photographer Date Created/Published: c1863. Medium: 1 photographic print on carte de visite mount: Albumen. Summary: African American men, women, and children gathered around a man with a watch, waiting for the Emancipation Proclamation. Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Copyright 1863 by W.T. Carlton.

* THIS NEW YEAR'S EVE AND NEW YEAR IS THE 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation