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In the midst of debating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which concerned the rights of all Americans, regardless of race, to become citizens and vote, Senator Charles Sumner often urged more liberal and democratic application of the law. In [...]
What exactly should be done for freedmen, if anything, was hotly debated in the years following the Civil War. As this exchange between a Union military officer and a former slave in Arkansas shows, even the meaning of freedom was up for grabs.
Following the Civil War and abolition of slavery, Republicans in Congress passed reconstruction laws meant to guarantee full citizenship and suffrage to African Americans. The 14th amendment required states to guarantee the rights of all citizens, [...]
In this activity students read three letters written by African-American soldiers during the Civil War to determine why black soldiers felt compelled to join the Union Army.
In this activity students create a "magic lantern show," or presentation that illustrates how African American defined freedom for themselves after emancipation and the challenges and threats they faced. Students use primary sources from the [...]
This letter was written by a group of freedmen to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The freedmen were from Edisto Island, South Carolina, an area that came under Union [...]