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Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: a view from the US Civil War’s slave refugee camps

Dr Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky

Date/Time: Friday 16 February 2018

How did Abraham Lincoln’s monumental Emancipation Proclamation actually work in everyday life?  Did it work at all? And, most importantly, how did enslaved people view the proclamation’s effect on their lives?  This talk will take up these questions by turning attention to the nearly 500,000 men, women, and children who fled the plantations of their enslavement and took up residence inside the lines of the Union Army during the war. These refugees from slavery, and their harrowing experience of living inside militarized camps, have been largely overshadowed in popular memories of Emancipation by the proclamation itself. And yet, they were arguably at the frontlines of the process by which slavery was destroyed in the United States. What they saw, and what they experienced, was revealed in this presentation.

Presented in association by the Postcolonial Research Group at Newcastle University and American Studies at Northumbria University.