September 20, 2022

“Emancipation During the Civil War”

– Amy Murrell Taylor

September 20, 2022

It’s one of the great moments of American history: Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But as monumental as that order was, it did not do the full work of destroying slavery and freeing enslaved people. This talk will reveal how different–and more complicated–the history of Emancipation seems when we bring the experiences of enslaved people closer into view. It will tell the largely untold story of the flight of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children away from slavery and into the lines of the Union army during the war — a mass migration that created a refugee crisis but also proved pivotal in destroying the institution of slavery once and for all.

Amy Murrell Taylor is the T. Marshall Hahn Jr. Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of a number of books and articles on the Civil War era, including The Divided Family in Civil War America (UNC Press, 2005), and Embattled Freedom: Journeys Through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps (UNC Press, 2018), which won a number of national prizes including the Frederick Douglass Prize for the best book on the history of global slavery. In the summers, when she is not writing or researching about this era, she likes to vacation with family along the St. Croix River in Minnesota.

(Photo:  National Archives)