Emancipation Proclamation


June 19th 1865: Juneteenth

On this day in 1865, the abolition of slavery was formally proclaimed in Texas, in an event which has been celebrated as ‘Juneteenth’ (a contraction of ‘June 19th’). President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves in rebelling Confederate states not under Union occupation, on January 1st 1863. However, the proclamation had little effect in areas like Texas which were not under Union control. It was two years later, in June 1865, when Union troops under Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, that abolition came to the state. The Union contingent brought the news that the American Civil War was over, following the surrender of Robert E. Lee in April. Upon his arrival, General Granger read General Order Number 3 declaring slavery abolished, leading thousands of former slaves to leave the state to seek employment or to find their families. Slavery was formally abolished throughout the entire United States with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in December 1865. Juneteenth was one of the first celebrations commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States, and served as a poignant time for the black community in Texas and elsewhere to come together in solidarity as they endured the hardship of Jim Crow which followed emancipation. The celebration of Juneteenth waned during the early twentieth century, largely due to financial concerns, but resurged with the onset of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas, making it the first state-recognised emancipation celebration. Now, Juneteenth is spreading beyond Texas, and has become a day for celebrating African-American achievement, and remembering the legacy of slavery.

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free”
- General Order Number 3, read by General Granger June 19th 1865

A Letter From James Baldwin To His 14 Year Old Nephew, from The Fire Next Time, read by RM.

Early-1963, 100 years after Abraham Lincoln called for the release of all Confederate slaves by way of the Emancipation Proclamation, renowned author James Baldwin wrote the following moving letter to his 14-year-old nephew, James, and offered some advice.

Have a listen. 

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Mr. President

It is my Desire to be free. To go to see my people on the eastern shore. My mistress won’t let me. You will please let me know if we are free. And what I can do. I write to you for advice. Please send me word this week. Or as soon as possible. And oblige.

Annie Davis

On August 25, 1864, Annie Davis, an enslaved woman living in Maryland, wrote this letter to President Lincoln asking if she was free. No reply from President Lincoln has been located, but the answer to her question would have been: “No.”

President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing slaves in states that had seceded from the Union. But it excused slave-holding border states like Maryland that had remained loyal to the Union, as well as parts of the Confederacy already under Northern control. And further the Emancipation Proclamation ultimately depended on a Union military victory.

That means slavery continued to exist in Annie’s Maryland until a rewritten Maryland Constitution freeing slaves came into effect on November 1, 1864. And the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States finally finished the work of freeing the slaves nationwide when ratified after the end of the Civil War on December 6th, 1865—150 years ago this week.

“Our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others—regardless of what they look like, or where they come from, or what their last name is, or what faith they practice.” —President Obama

Find out more about Annie’s letter from USNatArchives​, and watch President Obama’s speech today on the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Black History: Elizabeth Freeman ("Mum Bett")
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Elizabeth Freeman (“Mumbet”) was born a slave around 1742. She was raised, along with her younger sister Lizzie, in Claverack, Columbia County, New York (about 20 miles south of Albany). Her owner, a Dutchman named Pieter Hogeboom, gave the two girls to Sheffield, Massachusetts, resident John Ashley when he married Hogeboom’s daughter Annetje.

Family lore suggests that after 40 years of bondage in the Ashley household, Mumbet was prompted to seek her freedom when Annetje attempted to strike Mumbet’s younger sister with a shovel. Mumbet blocked the blow, but was seriously injured, never regaining the full use of her arm. In a contrasting account, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, who would later record Mumbet’s life story, reported that Freeman decided to seek freedom after hearing a public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

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anonymous asked:

But Lincoln didn't free all the slaves. Not the one is his states and he owned slaves. (I'm not trying to be rude or cocky. :). )

First of all, Lincoln did NOT own slaves.  Not ever.

Secondly, people have argued for nearly 150 years about whether Lincoln did or did not free the slaves and whether the Emancipation Proclamation was toothless or actually had some juice behind it.  It’s popular to say that Lincoln didn’t free the slaves and it is certainly arguable, but really, he kinda did.  A war to preserve the Union eventually became a war to end slavery in the United States and that was a decision largely made and stuck to by Abraham Lincoln.  People can and will argue and argue and argue about that point, but let’s look at it in a totally simplistic way:  Slavery existed before Lincoln became President and began prosecuting the Civil War, but by the time of Lincoln’s assassination slavery basically ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, 13th Amendment, and surrender of General Lee to General Grant at Appomattox.  Did Lincoln free the slaves by himself?  No, but his idea of victory in the Civil War shifted considerably throughout his Administration from preservation to emancipation.

So, yeah, he kinda did.

Isabella could probably kick all of our asses,” he said playfully, glancing at me.
I felt my cheeks reddening from embarrassment as they all looked at me. “Uh, I don’t know about that, sir,” I said, slightly stunned about the entire conversation.
“Don’t underestimate yourself, child,” he said after a moment, gazing at me intently. “I don’t.
—  Carlisle talking to Isabella in Emancipation Proclamation by Kharizzmatik. *best fanfic ever*

When Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, he came from standing in a reception receiving line. He is reported to have said that while his arm was tired and his signature shaky, he was convinced of the rightness of his proclamation. This detail of the signature on the Emancipation Proclamation shows the wavering ink line (top image). The ink lines of the signature have lost their intensity and are in poor condition. The mottled discoloration of the paper is also evident. Emancipation Proclamation, RG 11, ARC # 299998.

This signature by Abraham Lincoln appears on the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued in September 1862 (bottom image). Because the document has been handled and exhibited much less, it is in very good condition. The ink signature is dark and crisp in appearance. Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation RG 11.

“On December 31, 1862, our Nation marked the end of another year of civil war. At Shiloh and Seven Pines, Harpers Ferry and Antietam, brother had fought against brother. Sister had fought against sister. Blood and bitterness had deepened the divide that separated North from South, eroding the bonds of affection that once united 34 States under a single flag. Slavery still suspended the possibility of an America where life and liberty were the birthright of all, not the province of some.

Yet, even in those dark days, light persisted. Hope endured. As the weariness of an old year gave way to the promise of a new one, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation—courageously declaring that on January 1, 1863, "all persons held as slaves” in rebellious areas “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” He opened the Union Army and Navy to African Americans, giving new strength to liberty’s cause. And with that document, President Lincoln lent new moral force to the war by making it a fight not just to preserve, but also to empower. He sought to reunite our people not only in government, but also in freedom that knew no bounds of color or creed. Every battle became a battle for liberty itself. Every struggle became a struggle for equality.

Our 16th President also understood that while each of us is entitled to our individual rights and responsibilities, there are certain things we cannot accomplish on our own. Only a Union could serve the hopes of every citizen, knocking down the barriers to opportunity and giving each of us the chance to pursue our highest aspirations. He knew that in these United States, no dream could ever be beyond our reach when we affirm that individual liberty is served, not negated, by seeking the common good.“

—President Obama on the Emancipation Proclamation, issued 150 years ago today

As early as 1837, as a State Legislator, [Abraham] Lincoln referred to the injustice and impracticality of slavery. Later he wrote of the physical differences between blacks and whites and made it clear that he felt whites were superior. At times he concluded that the white man could not live with the Negro. This accounted for his conviction that the only answer to the problem was to colonize the black man-send him back to Africa, or to the West Indies or some other isolated spot.This view was still in his mind toward the height of the Civil War … Frederick Douglas, a Negro of towering grandeur, sound judgement and militant initiative, sought, without success, to persuade Lincoln that slavery, not merely the preservation of the union, was at the root of the war.

… On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the Negro from the bondage of chattel slavery …

But underneath, the ambivalence of white America toward the Negro still lurked with painful persistence. with all the beautiful promise that Douglass saw in the Emancipation Proclamation, he soon found that it left the Negro with only abstract freedom. Four million newly liberated slave found themselves with no bread to eat, no land to cultivate, no shelter to cover their heads. It was like freeing a man who had been unjustly imprisoned for years, and on discovering his innocence sending him out with no bus fare to get home, no suit to cover his body, no financial compensation to atone for his long years of incarceration and to help him get a sound footing in society; sending him out with only the assertion: “Now you are free.” what greater injustice could society perpetrate? All the moral voices of the universe, all the codes of sound jurisprudence, would rise up with condemnation at such an act. Yet this is exactly what America did to the Negro. In 1863 the Negro was given abstract freedom expressed in luminous rhetoric. But in an agrarian economy he was given no land to make liberation concrete. After the war the government granted white settlers, without cost, millions of acres of land in the West, thus providing America’s new white peasants from Europe with an economic floor. But at the same time its oldest peasantry, the Negro, was denied everything but a legal status he could not use, could not consolidate, could not even defend. As Frederick Douglas came to say, “Emancipation granted the Negro freedom to hunger, freedom to winter amid the rains of heaven. Emancipation was freedom and famine at the same time.”


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Taken from his last book “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” (1967) (pages 77-79)

“I need to know why you hate me.”

My eyes widened and I blinked a few times, confused. He thought I hated him?

“What do you mean?”

He sighed, running his hand through his hair. It was sticking up all over the place and he was just making it worse.

“I mean, you fucking run from me, you won’t look at me or talk to me. The only reason you’re doing it now is because you don’t think you have any other choice because you have to put my laundry away. I mean, fuck, I could do that shit myself but the only way I can get you to stay in the same goddamn room with me is to give you work to do. You have no problem hanging out with my brothers so why the fucking problem with me? Am I that fucking horrible?”

I just stared at him in shock as he rambled it all out in frustration. I was slightly stunned and couldn’t get my lips to move to form words.

“And Christ, now I’m sitting here yelling at you again and cursing, like that’s going to fucking fix anything,” he muttered, shaking his head. “Is that what’s wrong? Is it my temper? Do I scare you?” I shook my head hesitantly. He groaned. “Then what?”

I sighed. “I don’t hate you. I just…” I started, unsure of how to explain it.

“Just what?” he asked.

“I just don’t understand you” Emancipation Proclamation

anonymous asked:

this may just be the dumbest questions you'll ever receive but did france enslave africans, as well? when we learned about the french revolution however many years ago there was never any discussion about slavery

Yes, France did enslave Africans. They continued the slave trade–legally–until 1830. France officially abolished slavery in its colonies only fourteen years before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and then only under pressure from slave uprisings. French jumped into the Atlantic African slave trade in the early 16th century, a century before the first American set sail for Africa.