• January 1: The 150th anniversary of the
• January 21: The Martin Luther King Holiday(2013
will also mark the 50th anniversary of the March on
• January 21: The Inauguration of America’s first
black president to a second term
Congratulations to everyone in our community—
young and old—indeed, all Americans who
participated in the historic re-election of
President Barack Obama—the crowning political
and cultural achievement for this nation and the
African American people.
As the curtain closes on 2012 and we approach 2013,
consider the hand of Divine Providence in our time, a
sacred time. Within a single month this generation will
witness the convergence of three historic events that
have transformed America.
Ponder the beauty, the symmetry of these events in
our long march toward freedom and justice. To God
be the glory!
Countdown to Freedom
Over a year ago, we began to publish The Positive
Community’s Great Countdown to Freedom (inside back
cover) in anticipation of 2013. Within the poster is a
“Cultural Narrative,” a snapshot of our American story.
We have been consistent and remain unwavering in the
appeal to our readers to know this narrative and then to
teach it to a child. Cultural literacy and education are the
cornerstones of social progress.
It is my hope and prayer that the Grand Jubilee year
of 2013 will inspire the dawn of a new age of cultural
maturity and enlightenment—a true thirst for knowledge
and wisdom. An age will spring forth that will revive
the entrepreneurial spirit—teamwork, job creation,
industry, community-building, prosperity and goodwill
based upon ideals of self-acceptance, self-reliance and
self-respect. Idleness threatens health and public safety.
Employment is crucial to the people’s well being.
The American Dream
Bountiful blessings have been bestowed upon the
African American people. The greatest compliment to
the Obama presidency and the First Family, is when we
resolve to reduce our tolerance of the negative trend in
today’s popular culture. The glorification of violence,
vulgarity, anti-social behavior and backward lifestyles in
the media is not the image that will move black people
forward. Bondage to fashion and debt must not have a
place in our future!
The progress of our children and the integrity of
African American culture are the people’s claim on the
American Dream—our wellspring of possibilities, prosperity,
happiness and hope! The intellectual and cultural
enrichment of our children mean everything! It is
our sacred responsibility before God and our patriotic
duty to country, to preserve, protect and promote our
One hundred fifty years ago, on New Years Eve 1862, our
ancestors in the Confederate states gathered for “Watch
Night” to await the stroke of midnight, the moment freedom
would occur as the Emancipation Proclamation
promised. The law eventually led to the complete abolition
of slavery in the United States by 1865.
The Grand Jubilee Committee of New Jersey has introduced
a special initiative to launch a year-long observance
and commemoration of The Great Emancipation.
At the conclusion of this year’s Watch Night service, the
first minutes into the New Year, African American congregations
of all denominations, state-wide, in fact
throughout the entire New York/New Jersey region have
been asked to commit to the following:
• A unified prayer in praise of our ancestors for
their sacrifice and faith that we would see this day
in freedom; a prayer of hope for the health and
prosperity of future generations; a prayer for our
president and a prayer for our nation.
• A reading by a child of the Cultural Narrative to the
• Sing together, the Negro National Anthem, “Lift
Every Voice and Sing”
• Exit the church to the hymn, “We’ve Come this
Far by Faith”
Faith and Hope
Finally, the watchword of this message: “culture.” As
the soul is to a man or woman; culture is to a community,
nation or race. It is the combined ministries of experience,
memory and spirit—faith and hope.Imagine, 50
years into the future; imagine the possibilities and potentials
to be harvested from the seeds we are sowing today!
Imagine our descendants , on the eve of 2063—the
bicentennial of the Great Emancipation—looking back
with appreciation at the quality investment we have made
toward the progress of generations yet unborn! In praise
and in song they will rejoice together . . . “We’ve Come
This Far by Faith”