Were Slaves' Free After the Civil War?
When the slaves were liberated from their masters, after the fall of the South in the Civil War, what was the definition of the newfound freedom that they received? Many would say the same freedom as any American at the time was granted, but consider the lack of education and certain privileges that kept many people within the Negro community in a cycle of perpetuating poverty. In some respects the recently freed men and women were still slaves to the society due to their lack of understand of the post-war economy. One way of viewing the slave's newfound freedom is in the light that this freedom almost had an adverse reaction to what it was originally set in place to accomplish. Thus the slaves may have been physically free but had many new barriers in place to help ensure that their freedom was not the same as given to an average Caucasian male of the time. From all of this it can be determined that even after the last battle of the war had occurred and the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted slaves were still not "free people". Freed slaves won independence on their own with little assistance from those they trusted or relied upon, rather it was by a combination of factors that led to the freedom they sought. Factors such as the slaves own determination and perseverance to reach equality and other irrefutable rights of each human being. Since the end of the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery many former slaves have been interviewed concerning their personal experiences. In many of them a common theme can be observed: many slaves had no idea of the hardships that would come with freedom, and the many trials that they would encounter in the following years. Felix Haywood, a slave from San Antonio, and his father "knowed freedom was on us (them), but we didn't make em rich" (Haywood 4). Another former slave who was interviewed was Toby Jones, from Madisonville, Texas. "I don't know as I'spected nothing from...
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Davidson, James West and Mark Hamilton Lytle. After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2000.
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