On December 31st 1862 millions of enslaved people of color waited in anticipation of what the stroke of midnight meant:
Freedom's Eve [Nightwatch]
Can you imagine what those last waiting hours must have felt like? Being moments away from gaining a portion of stature that you were always worthy of, but a morally compromised society wouldn't honor. The night is known as "Freedoms Eve". That New Years Day is known as "Freedoms Day"
"The Waiting Hour" is the story of one Black union soldier recalling his Freedom Eve upon hearing that the word of liberty had finally reached Galveston Texas on June 19th 1865 (Now known as Juneteenth)
The piece speaks to the significance of both those days in reference to the ongoing struggle of a people to gain their dignity. It also speaks to the forces that were put into motion as a response to their liberty:
Jim Crow Laws
The Black Codes
All these efforts were designed to deny a legally free people access to the system that had grown rich off them for hundreds of years. These criminal actions were not just the consequence of hateful racist, but the society and time that stood by as those worst elements acted out.
It also addresses the ongoing struggle and responsibility we all have as an American society to protect the rights of not just African Americans, but every group that may still be caught in their own waiting hour.
The performance is followed by brief image supported lecture and discussion that draws a direct line to the false narratives that plagued African Americans after emancipation which led to "the cult of the lost cause" and the current lie based narratives that have led to the "cult of alternative facts".
In both cases, those false narratives compromised the lives and dignity of American citizens, but they were patently unconstitutional.