For 150 years, African American churches have celebrated Watch Night. This is a tradition that has its origins rooted in the heart of the American Civil War. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the official Emanciaption Proclamation. The actual document had been written earlier in September of 1862, and Lincoln gave the states that had seceded 100 days to respond, in an effort to preserve the Union. Of course there was no official response, to re-join the Union, and on January 1, the act of Emancipation was issued.