During the summer of 2016, we will be bringing together our previously published articles, book reviews, and podcasts on key themes and periods in the history of the USA. Each grouping is designed to correspond to the core areas of the US History Survey Courses taken by undergraduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. On the […]
We all know that films on historical subjects distort events for the sake of entertainment. The goal of this review is to examine this latest rendition of slavery in popular culture from a historian’s point of view to see how those distortions are used and what affect they may have on popular ideas about slavery.
There are two great legal milestones in the destruction of slavery in the United States—the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, passed by Congress and ratified by the states in 1865.
December 31, 1862 fell on a Wednesda, and that night members of Savannah’s First African Baptist Church held their traditional New Year’s Eve “watch meeting.” Each year members of the congregation gathered on this night to welcome the new year and to ask for God’s blessing on the city’s African-American community. Such “watch meetings” or “watch night” services were held all over the country, linking African Americans in Savannah with communities in Richmond, New York, Boston and elsewhere. After a year and a half of a bloody civil war, the community in Savannah consisted of about 10,000 enslaved men and women, 1,000 free people of color, and several hundred enslaved workers brought from all over the state of Georgia to dig trenches and otherwise toil at the direction of Confederate military authorities.
While 2013 marks the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the most famous event of the Civil Rights Movement, made so by the continual remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In the five decades since the March, many people have forgotten or fail to realize the tremendous meaning that the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation bore for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
On the afternoon of January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing approximately three million people held in bondage in the rebel states of the Confederacy.