In 1862, on December 31, Freedom's Eve, black slaves and free blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. At the stroke of midnight, it was 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 as many people fell to their knees and thanked God.
Even though the first religious watch night service is believed to have begun with the Moravians in 1770, Blacks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since Freedom's Eve in 1862, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.
In 1930, on December 31, Odetta, African-American singer, song writer and Civil Rights activist, was born in Birmingham, Alabama.
|Odetta sings at the March on Washington in 1963.|
The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta."
Here's Odetta on "The Johnny Cash Show," August 30, 1969. The first song she performs is based on a Negro "field blues" song known simply as "Black Woman," then duets with Cash on "Shame And Scandal In The Family"
Odetta Plays Guitar as she sings with Tennessee Ernie Ford, Woody Guthrie and Pastures of Plenty and Merle travis Nine Pound Hammer