Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History & Culture Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva's Black History

Source Information

Documents from the Freedmen and Southern Society Project

Manumission & Freedom • 48 Records • Uploaded May 13, 2024 • Data Website: freedmen.umd.edu

This source compiles correspondences, testimonies, military orders, and other written documents from the edited volumes and project website of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, which is supported by the University of Maryland with grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Archives. It includes a variety of transcribed sources about the experiences of freed men and women during and after the Civil War on Maryland and Virginia’s Eastern Shores, as well as the broader Chesapeake Bay. Maryland, a loyal state, abolished slavery with the ratification of a new state Constitution in 1864; however, many enslaved Marylanders were able to officially gain their freedom by enlisting in the Union Army after 1863. Meanwhile, Virginia, a confederate state, did not formally abolish slavery until the passing of the 13th amendment in 1865, after the conclusion of the Civil War. However, many enslaved Virginians were able to free themselves prior to the federal abolition of slavery, when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863. Relevant documents have been selected from the project website and several published compilations, including the Freedmen and Southern Society Project from the University of Maryland, Free At Last, a compilation of documents regarding slavery, freedom, and the civil war, and two volumes of Freedom, another documentary compilation regarding emancipation selected from the National Archives (Volume I is cited as its subtitle, The Destruction of Slavery, similarly, Volume II is cited as The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor). This set of data will expand as additional relevant accounts are located. To learn more about the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, visit the website here.

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