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Christopher Metzler is the author of “Divided We Stand: The Search for America’s Soul” and “The Construction and Rearticulation of Race in a Post-Racial America.”
A review of American history and the nation’s relationship to blacks reveals a slow and often bloody march to equality.
Letter - President - Abraham - Lincoln - Horace
In a now-famous letter that President Abraham Lincoln wrote to Horace Greely, editor of the New York Tribune, Lincoln noted that his primary mission was to save the Union and that he would do so whether it meant freeing some slaves, all slaves, or not one single slave.
The bloody Civil War raged for three years before Lincoln declared some of the enslaved people free. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all enslaved people, however. It did free those held as slaves within rebellious states, but slavery remained legal in states loyal to the Union.
July - Day - Americans - Independence - Date
July 4 is the day most Americans celebrate independence. I would argue that an equally important date is “Juneteenth.” On June 19, 1865, Gen. Gordon Granger stood on a balcony in Galveston, Texas, and read what was called General Order No. 3.
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.
Freedmen - Homes - Work - Wages - Posts
The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts, and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.
Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865,...
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