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Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery

by Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer (Temple)

What did freedom look like? In this photographic history, published on the Emancipation Proclamation’s 150th anniversary, it looked like abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, and the proud black soldiers who fought for the Union cause. It also looked like the earnest, hopeful faces of four youngsters in their Sunday best; a woman selling ice cream at a rural Virginia picnic; and a 22-year-old black man, hangman’s noose around his neck, surrounded by white officials, just minutes before his execution for the murder of a white man. Compelling, introspective, wrenching and unforgettable.


Originally published in the June 2013 issue of American History. To subscribe, click here.