By Tiara Kj Williams
On Jan 1,1863, Abraham Lincoln signed one of the most important documents in history, especially for African Americans. He issued The Emancipation Proclamation, which granted the freedom of black slaves in 10 states. This executive document divided an entire country, and it may have cost one man his life.
Here are are 10 facts about the Emancipation Proclamation:
8. It was not a law. The Proclamation was based on Abraham Lincoln’s power as commander as commander and chief of the armed forces. This was not a law, it was an order. It did not outlaw slavery, compensate slave owners, or make ex-slaves free citizens.
7. The order applied only to Confederate states of America. It did not apply to slaves states that were not in rebellion which included Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri.
6. In Texas, the Proclamation had little impact and slavery continued, because there were not enough Union troops to enforce the executive order. But, June 19, 1865 when General Granger’s regiment arrived on Texas soil demanding that slaves be freed. This marks the day of Juneteenth. The emancipation of all slaves.
5. The Proclamation was issued in two installments. There was the preliminary announcement on September 22, 1862, which outlined intent to free all slaves.The actual proclamation was not enforced until January 1, 1863, during the second year of the Civil War.
4. Booker T. Washington wrote his personal account of the day of the emancipation. He wrote, “As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom…. Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.”
3. The Democratic party in 1865 did not favor the anti-slave movement. They spoke of the emancipation and the civil war in this regard, “I have told you that this war is carried on for the Negro. There is the proclamation of the President of the United States. Now fellow Democrats I ask you if you are going to be forced into a war against your Brethren of the Southern States for the Negro. I answer No!”-Copperhead David Allen
2. Lincoln’s intention was to rally foreign popular opinion in favor of the proclamation, and in the union by gaining the support of anti-slavery countries and countries that had abolished slavery, especially in Europe.
1. Abraham Lincoln had gone where no president had gone before and he was in constant danger. After attending an April 11, 1865, speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, John Wilkes Booth, was disgusted by Lincoln. He was against the liberation of slaves and fought to restore white supremacy. He and a group of co-conspirators plotted to kill the president. While Lincoln attended a play, Booth crept up behind Lincoln and shot him in the head at point blank range killing the president.