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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Tag > Emancipation (x)

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On to Liberty

Painter Theodor Kaufmann was a German immigrant and abolitionist who served in the Union army during the Civil War. Throughout the war, African-American men, women, and children escaped slavery by fleeing to Union encampments. Union commanders [...]

Virginians Petition to Prevent the Emancipation of Slaves (with text supports)

The spirit of the American Revolution inspired some slaveholders to manumit, or free, their slaves. In 1782, Virginia passed a law that allowed slaveholders to set slaves free in their wills, where before manumission required a special act of the [...]

Another View of the "Statue of Emancipation"

Even as the dramatic events of the Civil War were unfolding, artists and sculptors struggled to depict emancipation. After the war, as local communities and the nation attempted to memorialize the conflict and the transformation of four million [...]

Harriet Tubman Warns "Kill the Snake Before It Kills You"

Harriet Tubman was among the best known conductors of the Underground Railroad, a network of enslaved people, free blacks, and white sympathizers that assisted thousands of runaway slaves escape north. During the Civil War, Tubman offered her [...]

Background Essay on Who Freed the Slaves?

This essay introduces you to the main forces behind the abolition of slavery in the United States, as well as the debate among historians as to who played the key role.

"Colored Troops under General Wild, liberating slaves in North Carolina"

In this journalistic sketch, a group of African American soldiers liberates a plantation in eastern North Carolina. The troops were the so-called "African Brigade" composed of black recruits from Massachusetts and newly freed contraband slaves from [...]

A Union Army Captain Testifies Before the Freedmen’s Commission (with text supports)

In May, 1861, Union General Benjamin Butler offered military protection to runaway slaves in Virginia, declaring them wartime "contraband." In every region touched by the war, African-American men, women, and children flocked to the protection [...]

Who Freed the Slaves: Weighing the Evidence worksheet

This worksheet helps students evaluate different pieces of evidence to determine who freed the slaves, Abraham Lincoln or slaves themselves. The worksheet is part of the activity "Emancipation and "Contraband": Who Freed the Slaves During the Civil [...]

Analysis Worksheet: A Runaway Slave Predicts "Freedom Will Reign"

This worksheet helps students analyze a letter from John Boston, a runaway slave during the Civil War, to his wife.

Analysis Worksheet: Lincoln in Richmond

This worksheet helps students analyze the 1865 print Lincoln in Richmond.