Tag Archives: Lincoln

Thanksgiving’s a Black Man’s Holiday

CLIVE: Thanksgiving’s a black man’s holiday, bet you didn’t know.
ANTHONY: I, uh, no, I wasn’t aware.
CLIVE: 1863, Lincoln says to himself “This country done ripped in two, we need something bring us together, make us thankful we was almost in two but we not, we hanging by a thread, one thread, that’s still good. So he thinks on it and he says the whole land, everyone up in here, is invited to celebrate Thanksgiving. If the Indians and the pilgrims can do it, so can we, right? I mean think of all the foods Thanksgiving got? Those are stone cold New England it’s cold and about to get colder foods. And the black man—

On October 3, 1963, in the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln released a proclamation making the last Thursday of November a national holiday; a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” He did it at the prompting of writer Sarah Josepha Hale, who had been advocating for it to be a national holiday for 17 years. Before 1963, Thanksgiving was not widely celebrated outside of New England, and even there each state celebrated at a different time.

Highlight from the Thanksgiving Proclamation:

It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gracious gifts of the Most High God] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Read the complete text of the Thanksgiving Proclamation here.