Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of End of Legal Slavery, President Obama Reflects on the Abolition of Slavery Amendment

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Standing in the United States Capitol today, President Obama reflected on the progress we’ve made since the U.S. abolished slavery in 1865.

On December 6, 1865, the U.S. ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution: the abolition of slavery. It was a long overdue step in the long road we continue to walk in our efforts to address and uproot the systemic injustices embedded into our society.

Standing in the United States Capitol today, President Obama reflected on the history of our progress — hard-fought, hard-won, incomplete, but always possible. Watch his remarks here:

As many made clear at the time of its ratification, the 13th Amendment was not a final step, but rather the first step in making real the promise that all men are created equal. Read the letter that Annie Davis, an enslaved woman living in Maryland, wrote to President Lincoln asking if she was free after he had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. He never replied, but the answer was no. It would take an amendment to Maryland’s constitution — and the 13th Amendment — to ensure that she and all enslaved people in the U.S. were free in the eyes of the law.

Emancipation Proclamation

Drafted December 22, 1862 The 13th amendment, which formally abolished slavery in the United States, passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House/Congress on January 31, 1865. The National Consensus of the Proclamation/Bill/Amendment happened after end of Civil War December  6th, 1865.  The 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”.

Transcript of Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

print-friendly versionRead By the President of the United States of America,

September 22, 1862:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

“That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.”

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

13th Amendment

13th Amendment signed by all states on December 5th, 1865

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Mr. President

 

On August 25, 1864, Annie Davis, an enslaved woman living in Maryland, wrote this letter to President Lincoln asking if she was free. No reply from President Lincoln has been located, but the answer to her question would have been: “No.”

President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing slaves in states that had seceded from the Union. But it excused slave-holding border states like Maryland that had remained loyal to the Union, as well as parts of the Confederacy already under Northern control. And further the Emancipation Proclamation ultimately depended on a Union military victory.

That means slavery continued to exist in Annie’s Maryland until a rewritten Maryland Constitution freeing slaves came into effect on November 1, 1864. And the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States finally finished the work of freeing the slaves nationwide when ratified after the end of the Civil War on December 6th, 1865—150 years ago this week.

It is my Desire to be free. To go to see my people on the eastern shore. My mistress won’t let me. You will please let me know if we are free. And what I can do. I write to you for advice. Please send me word this week. Or as soon as possible. And oblige.

Annie Davis

“Our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others—regardless of what they look like, or where they come from, or what their last name is, or what faith they practice.” —President Obama

Find out more about Annie’s letter from USNatArchives​, and watch President Obama’s speech todayon the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

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Letter from Annie Davis to President Abraham Lincoln 08/25/1864 RG 094 Old Military and Civil Records Colored Troops Division, Letters Received D-304, 1864 Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917 00913_2005_001

“Verily, the work does not end with the abolition of slavery, but only begins.”  Frederick Douglass

Robinson Crusoe / Slavery Indoctrination

Robinson Crusoe Published in 1719

Robinson Crusoe Published in 1719

At the end of the 19th century, no book in the history of  Western literature had more editions, spin-offs and translations than Robinson Crusoe. What’s interesting is that this book houses the reasoned teaching of the slavery indoctrination.

Given to the Western World (The New World) at it’s inception, with more than 700 such alternative versions, including children’s versions with mainly pictures and no text, accounts of one mans trial and error of protocols (adventure)  of  domesticating a savage.  He depicted that the slave owner would first make the savage fear him and his gun, he would then chain him (for his own protection), then change his name to one he chooses, make him call him master, then tell him who his God was.

The author shows a sharp distinction of savage versus human, and perpetuates that it was his duty to offer humanity to the cannibal. I contend that this book issued America its much needed reasoning’s, quieted the new slave owners consciousness, and  justified  the actions, of wicked men for many generations. An American Classic? Shameful!

Watch Movie Here: 

The Good Ship Jesus | The Beginning of the Slave Trade

Jesus of Lubeck (Name of first Slave Ship to Grace the America's.)

Jesus of Lubeck (Name of first Slave Ship to Grace the America’s.)

What has come to be referred to as “The Good Ship Jesus” was in fact the “Jesus of Lubeck,” a 700-ton ship purchased by King Henry VIII from the Hanseatic League, a merchant alliance between the cities of Hamburg and Lubeck in Germany. Twenty years after its purchase the ship, in disrepair, was lent to Sir John Hawkins by Queen Elizabeth.

Hawkins, a cousin of Sir Francis Drake, was granted permission from Queen Elizabeth for his first voyage in 1562. He was allowed to carry Africans to the Americas “with their own free consent” and he agreed to this condition. Hawkins had a reputation for being a religious man who required his crew to “serve God daily” and to love one another. Sir Francis Drake accompanied Hawkins on this voyage and subsequent others. Drake, was himself, devoutly religious. Services were held on board twice a day.

Off the coast of Africa, near Sierra Leone, Hawkins captured 300-500 slaves, mostly by plundering Portuguese ships, but also through violence and subterfuge promising Africans free land and riches in the new world. He sold most of the slaves in what is now known as the Dominican Republic. He returned home with a profit and ships laden with ivory, hides, and sugar. Thus began the slave trade.

Admiral, Slaver John Hawkins

Admiral, Slaver John Hawkins

Admiral John Hawkins is often remembered as one of the greatest men in the early English navy. Along with his cousin and companion Sir Francis Drake, he helped defeat the Spanish Armada and cement England’s role as ruler of the seas. But like most men who fell under the category of “Sea Dogs”, his career was filled with a blood-thirsty ruthlessness far removed from the modern ideas of heroes.

More Reading on John Hawkins and His “Crusades” Here: http://www.chroniclesofamerica.com/sea-dogs/john_hawkins_slavers_gentlemen_pirates.htm

Archaeology to Retain Our Self Image

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I believe knowing our history helps us to retain our self-image. And especially as Black people, knowing we are ignorant of our history, should be prompted and inclined to search for it. So I Do! When studying I also believe one must keep an open mind, but consistently keep it founded upon line after line precept after precept.

I have been writing a workbook for children (gathering facts for like 4 years!) Information recently released (to us within last 100 years), regarding the excavations of tombs in Eqypt, is one of the topics I discuss, and it brings me to believe the study of archaeology should be noted as being very important…Most times, when I begin to study, I find the study of this information to be familiar and enlightening. We have been traditionally taught to believe that things from this region of the world were accursed; should not be touched or thought about and even broken. But did you know that these are the same symbols, instruments, tools, etc. that are used against our children in projected images through the current music, arts, culture. Original Natives of the land kept these burial sites holy and protected as long as they could. (The oral and written histories of many noted griots contain facts regarding some of the earliest of temple raidings.) There exists from these raidings, a vast array of instruments, paintings, jewelry, artificats, weapons etc. from as far back as 1500 BC (before the birth of Christ)! (for example, we show the children a common guitar, and compare it to one found in a tomb, that now sits in a museum.)

Do you think the study of this information could improve the quality of our lives now or ever throughout our generations? If so, why would Now, not be the right time to learn about and teach the true nature and origin of these facts and events to our children? (This video was fun to watch… 🙂

Summer Enrichment Workbook

Summer Enrichment Workbook

This summer help your children prepare for world mission! This work book will feature activities for children of all ages. Created to inspire this book will teach them of the things the education system has left out. Contact us for more information, and to preorder your copy today!

Mississippi Recently Ratifies 13th Amendment

Come on Mississippi! You just now have ratified the 13th Amendment? I found this fact to be quite startling, shocking, and hilarious.

An oversight of document filing from 1995, led to an error that has kept the Law of Slavery unratified in the state of Mississippi. They have inevitability won title as “Last State to Free Their Slaves”, doing so on February 6, 2013!

This discovery was made by an unsuspecting citizen, inspired to learn of his own state ratification date by the movie “Lincoln”.

(This document was historically adopted by the government on January 31, 1865.)

Read Full Story Here: http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1267133

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James Hood – One of First Blacks to Break Racial Education Barrier Dies

James Hood (1943-2013)

James Hood (1943-2013)

James Hood, made famous by the “stand in the schoolhouse door” policy, died at his home in Alabama, Thursday, at age 70.  He was thrust into the national spotlight during a long fight to attend college in his home state of Alabama at the height of the civil rights movement.  Alabama was the last state to integrate its education system.

On June 11, 1963, after a U.S. court ruling ordering Alabama to desegregate, James Hood and Vivian Malone attempted to register for classes at the University of Alabama, but they were blocked at the door by then-Gov. Wallace and several state troopers.

Later that day, President John F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard and issued a presidential proclamation ordering Wallace to execute federal court orders that would allow Hood and Malone to enroll at the university.

Guardsmen then escorted Hood and Malone via a side door into the school auditorium, where Wallace stepped aside and allowed the two to register.

Later that evening, Kennedy addressed the nation and called for sweeping civil rights legislation that would ban discrimination in all public places.

Wallace had long proclaimed he would stand at the front door of any school that was ordered by the federal courts to admit black students. During his inaugural speech five months before the standoff at the university, Wallace famously proclaimed, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”James Hood (1943-2013)

James Hood left the school a few months after the historic day and moved to Michigan, where he finished out his undergraduate degree. He said he did so to avoid “a complete mental and physical breakdown,” according to the school website dedicated to a civil rights memorial named after Hood and Malone.

Hood returned to the University of Alabama three decades later to earn a doctorate in higher education in 1997.

University of Alabama President Judy Bonner issued a statement today honoring the civil rights figure.

“James Hood will be remembered for the courage and conviction he demonstrated as one of the first two African-American students to enroll at The University of Alabama,” Bonner said.

Wallace renounced his segregationist views before his death in 1998. Following his death, according to the New York Times, one of those who came to pay their respects to the former governor was James Hood.

“I think he made peace with God,” Hood told the paper.

World Water Day – March 22

World-Water-Day-shutterstockThe U.N. designates March 22 as the day of the year when we spotlight the global safe water and sanitation issue and the collective efforts underway to get solutions to those struggling and in need.

Have you ever said, “I’m dying of thirst?”

If so, I bet you didn’t really mean it.

If you’re like me, you don’t spend too much time thinking about water — it’s everywhere we go. When we’re thirsty, we flip a handle or push a button. When we’re dirty, we twist a shower knob. When our garden needs watering, when our pasta needs to be boiled, when we use the bathroom — water is just there for the taking.

But for almost a billion people on the planet, it’s not. Millions of women and children have to walk hours each day to get water from muddy ponds and rivers. And much of that water is infested with bacteria, parasites or leeches.

When I learned that only $20 can give someone access to clean, safe water, I decided to start a campaign to help. My goal is to raise $5000. Black Women of Faith: Living Water Campaign will use 100% of the money to directly fund the water projects in the field. Even better, when the projects are complete, they’ll show us just where our money went. That’s right — we’ll be able to see the GPS coordinates, photos and other details about the community we’ve impacted!

I’ve never actually been dying of thirst. I’m sure we’d all like to see a world where no one does!

Just $20 can provide one person with clean, safe drinking water, and 100% of your donation will fund water project costs.

Donate Here… http://mycharitywater.org/urban-art-and-science-center

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Water is essential to life. The United Nations estimates that nearly 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. And the demand for fresh water doubles every 20 years, according to Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

March 22 was designated as World Water Day by the United Nations in 1993. The day focuses attention on the importance of clean water and promotes sustainable management of freshwater resources. The girls in this photo are in Ghana. The girl on the left holds a glass of drinking water purified by a household ceramic water filter. The girl on the right holds a glass of water that has not been filtered to remove disease-causing contaminants.

By March 22, 2013, We plan to raise enough money to help end this crisis. Please consider donating to help the Urban Art and Science Foundation to help us in supporting this cause.

http://mycharitywater.org/urban-art-and-science-center

The Immortal “HeLa” Cell’s Source is of a Black Woman named Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks  (August 1, 1920 – October 4, 1951)

Henrietta Lacks
(August 1, 1920 – October 4, 1951)

Once lived a woman whose cells continued to multiply themselves outside of her body, and even long after her death!

The woman was Henrietta Lacks, and her immortal cells—dubbed “HeLa”—have been essential in many of the great scientific discoveries of our time: curing polio; gene mapping; learning how cells work; developing drugs to treat cancer, herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS … and the list goes on and on (and on). If it deals with the human body and has been studied by scientists, odds are those scientists needed and used Lacks’ cells somewhere along the way. HeLa cells were even sent up to space on an unmanned satellite to determine whether or not human tissue could survive in zero gravity.

Lacks was an impoverished black woman who died on October 4, 1951 of cervical cancer at just 31 years old. During her cancer treatment, a doctor at Johns Hopkins took a sample of her tumor without her knowledge or consent and sent it over to a colleague of his, Dr. George Gey, who had been trying for 20 years, unsuccessfully, to grow human tissues from cultures. A lab assistant there, Mary Kubicek, discovered that Henrietta’s cells, unlike normal human cells, could live and replicate outside the body.

Go to just about any cell culture lab in the world and you’ll find billions of HeLa cells stored there. In contrast to normal human cells, which will die after a few replications, Lacks’ cells can live and replicate just fine outside of the human body (which is also unique among humans). Give her cells the nutrients they need to survive, and they will apparently live and replicate along forever, almost 60 years and counting since the first culture was taken. They can be frozen for literally decades and, when thawed, they’ll go right on replicating.

Before her cells were discovered and widely cultured, it was nearly impossible for scientists to reliably experiment on human cells and get meaningful results. Cell cultures that scientists were studying would weaken and die very quickly outside the human body. Lacks’ cells gave scientists, for the first time, a “standard” that they could use to test things on. HeLa cells can survive being shipped in the mail just fine, so scientists across the globe can use the same standard to test against.

Lacks died of uremic poisoning, in the segregated hospital ward for blacks, about 8 months after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, never knowing that her cells would become one of the most vital tools in modern medicine and would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry. She was survived by her husband and five children; the family lived in poverty for most of their lives, and didn’t find out about the fate of Lacks’ incredible cells until years later.

The Truth Behind the Promise of “40 Acres and a Mule”

What happened to the “40 acres and a mule” that former slaves were promised? We’ve all heard the story of the “40 acres and a mule” promise to former slaves. It’s a staple of black history lessons.

40-acres-and-a-mule

The promise was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves, and it was astonishingly radical for its time, proto-socialist in its  implications. In fact, such a policy would be radical in any country today: the federal government’s massive confiscation of private property — some 400,000 acres — formerly owned by Confederate land owners, and its methodical redistribution to former black slaves.

What most of us haven’t heard is that the idea really was generated by black leaders themselves. Try to imagine how profoundly different the history of race relations in the United States would have been had this policy been implemented and enforced; had the former slaves actually had access to the ownership of land, of property; if they had had a chance to be self-sufficient economically, to build, accrue and pass on wealth. After all, one of the principal promises of America was the possibility of average people being able to own land, and all that such ownership entailed. As we know all too well, this promise was not to be realized for the overwhelming majority of the nation’s former slaves, who numbered about 3.9 million.

What Exactly Was Promised?

We have been taught in school that the source of the policy of “40 acres and a mule” was Union General William T. Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15, issued on Jan. 16, 1865. (That account is half-right: Sherman prescribed the 40 acres in that Order, but not the mule. The mule would come later.) What many accounts leave out is that this idea for massive land redistribution actually was the result of a discussion that Sherman and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton held four days before Sherman issued the Order, with 20 leaders of the black community, in Savannah, Ga., where Sherman was headquartered following his famous March to the Sea.
The Three Relevant Sections of the 40 Acre and a Mule Order:
Section One: “The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns river, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes [sic] now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.”
Section Two:  (Specifies that these new communities, moreover, would be governed entirely by black people themselves) ” … on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves … By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro [sic] is free and must be dealt with as such.”
Section Three: (Specifies the allocation of land) ” … each family shall have a plot of not more than (40) acres of tillable ground, and when it borders on some water channel, with not more than 800 feet water front, in the possession of which land the military authorities will afford them protection, until such time as they can protect themselves, or until Congress shall regulate their title.”  
(See Entire Order Here http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/40acres/ps_so15.html)
With this Order, 400,000 acres of land — “a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South Carolina, to the St. John’s River in Florida, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland thirty miles in from the coast,” as Barton Myers reports — would be redistributed to the newly freed slaves. The extent of this Order and its larger implications are mind-boggling, actually.
freedman bureau
Who Came Up With the Idea?
Abolitionists Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens and other Radical Republicans had been actively advocating land redistribution “to break the back of Southern slaveholders’ power,” as Myers observed. But Sherman’s plan only took shape after the meeting that he and Stanton held with those black ministers, at 8:00 p.m., Jan. 12, on the second floor of Charles Green’s mansion on Savannah’s Macon Street. In its broadest strokes, “40 acres and a mule” was their idea.

Stanton, aware of the great historical significance of the meeting, presented Henry Ward Beecher (Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous brother) a verbatim transcript of the discussion, which Beecher read to his congregation at New York’s Plymouth Church and which the New York Daily Tribune printed in full in its Feb. 13, 1865, edition.

Stanton told Beecher that “for the first time in the history of this nation, the representatives of the government had gone to these poor debased people to ask them what they wanted for themselves.” Stanton had suggested to Sherman that they gather “the leaders of the local Negro community” and ask them something no one else had apparently thought to ask: “What do you want for your own people” following the war? And what they wanted astonishes us even today.

Who were these 20 thoughtful leaders who exhibited such foresight? They were all ministers, mostly Baptist and Methodist. Most curious of all to me is that 11 of the 20 had been born free in slave states, of which 10 had lived as free men in the Confederacy during the course of the Civil War. (The other one, a man named James Lynch, was born free in Maryland, a slave state, and had only moved to the South two years before.) The other nine ministers had been slaves in the South who became “contraband,” and hence free, only because of the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union forces liberated them. Their chosen leader and spokesman was a Baptist minister named Garrison Frazier, aged 67, who had been born in Granville, N.C., and was a slave until 1857, “when he purchased freedom for himself and wife for $1000 in gold and silver,” as the New York Daily Tribune reported.

Rev. Frazier had been “in the ministry for thirty-five years,” and it was he who bore the responsibility of answering the 12 questions that Sherman and Stanton put to the group. The stakes for the future of the Negro people were high. And Frazier and his brothers did not disappoint. What did they tell Sherman and Stanton that the Negro most wanted? Land! “The way we can best take care of ourselves,” Rev. Frazier began his answer to the crucial third question, “is to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor … and we can soon maintain ourselves and have something to spare … We want to be placed on land until we are able to buy it and make it our own.” And when asked next where the freed slaves “would rather live — whether scattered among the whites or in colonies by themselves,” without missing a beat, Brother Frazier (as the transcript calls him) replied that “I would prefer to live by ourselves, for there is a prejudice against us in the South that will take years to get over … ” When polled individually around the table, all but one — James Lynch, 26, the man who had moved south from Baltimore — said that they agreed with Frazier. Four days later, Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, after President Lincoln approved it.

What Became of the Land That Was Promised?

The response to the Order was immediate. When the transcript of the meeting was reprinted in the black publication Christian Recorder, an editorial note intoned that “From this it will be seen that the colored people down South are not so dumb as many suppose them to be,” reflecting North-South, slave-free black class tensions that continued well into the modern civil rights movement. The effect throughout the South was electric: As Eric Foner explains, “the freedmen hastened to take advantage of the Order.” Baptist minister Ulysses L. Houston, one of the group that had met with Sherman, led 1,000 blacks to Skidaway Island, Ga., where they established a self-governing community with Houston as the “black governor.” And by June, “40,000 freedmen had been settled on 400,000 acres of ‘Sherman Land.’ ” By the way, Sherman later ordered that the army could lend the new settlers mules; hence the phrase, “40 acres and a mule.”

And what happened to this astonishingly visionary program, which would have fundamentally altered the course of American race relations? Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor and a sympathizer with the South, overturned the Order in the fall of 1865, and, as Barton Myers sadly concludes, “returned the land along the South Carolina, Georgia and Florida coasts to the planters who had originally owned it” — to the very people who had declared war on the United States of America.

Adapted from Article Authored by Henry Louis Gates Jr. ( the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of website, The Root.)