“Black Founders: The Free Black Community in the Early Republic”
“Black Founders: The Free Black Community in the Early Republic” examines the activities of newly-freed African Americans in the North as they struggled to forge organizations and institutions to promote their burgeoning communities and to attain equal rights in the face of slavery and racism. Leaders emerged—many of them former slaves—who worked to organize independent churches, schools, and fraternal and educational associations, and to champion blacks’ inclusion as equal citizens in the American landscape. Deeply spiritual people, they held close the tenets of egalitarian Christianity and the affirmation in the Declaration of Independence of the unalienable right to liberty. They were the most consistent voices for multiracial democracy in the new republic, and their words and deeds helped inspire a vigorous American antislavery movement. The Library Company of Philadelphia.
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“Crisis of the Union”
An Electronic Archive of Documents about the Causes, Conduct, and Consequences of the U.S. Civil War. Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image. University of Pennsylvania Libraries.
“The Emancipation Proclamation: One Step Toward Freedom”
While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, heralded the Union’s new commitment to the abolition of slavery, freedom came in increments. On July 22, 1862, Lincoln presented a proclamation to his Cabinet, calling for the gradual abolition of slavery. In the midst of a summer of Union battle losses, Lincoln decided to postpone issuing this document until he could speak from a position of strength following a significant military victory. Nevertheless, three days later, on July 25, he retained the preface in a public proclamation warning rebels to surrender and declaring his presidential authority to “seize and confiscate property of rebels.” The Library Company of Philadelphia.
The Liberation of Jane Johnson
Arriving by train from Washington D.C. on the morning of July 18, 1855 was Col. John H. Wheeler of North Carolina; his slave, Jane Johnson; and her two sons, Daniel and Isaiah. Wheeler was the American minister to Nicaragua, and his party was passing through, on their way to New York and then to Nicaragua. Unknown to Wheeler, Jane, who’d seen one son sold away, had no intention of traveling to Central America or remaining a slave. The Library Company of Philadelphia.