The Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863 was the Day of Jubilee, the date upon which "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."

This, of course, included not only the parts of Beaufort District that had been occupied by Federal troops since the Battle of Port Royal Sound on November 7, 1861 where many contrabands were freed, but also those parts of Beaufort District still held by the Confederates -- where the slaves remained in slavery until the 1865.

Want to see the original Emancipation Proclamation? The National Archives has digitized it. (To see the hand-written pages: Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5)

The Beaufort District Collection has several resources to help you learn more about the local impact of the Emancipation Proclamation.

I recommend the contents of "Emancipation Proclamation" and "Emancipation Proclamation--Commemoration" vertical files as good starting points. We also have a book in the BDC entitled The nomination of the "Emancipation Proclamation Site" to the National Register 1993-1995 at call number SC 975.799 PEN.

There are items in a variety of formats and at various reading levels on the topic in the SCLENDS catalog. Some of these resources discuss the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation in our area; others discuss the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on a wider scope.

If you prefer online resources, here are a few recommendations. You can read more about the effects of the on a more national scale in the Emancipation Proclamation article on wikipedia.

The Library of Congress has a special presentation within the American Memory database about the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation. The presentation provides an essay, timeline and Lincoln’s first and final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as the final version issued on January 1, 1863. Links to other online resources recommended by the Library of Congress about the Emancipation Proclamation are found at http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/EmanProc.html.

If you are an aural learner, I recommend a podcast available through the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. (Gilder Lehrman Institute posts very thought provoking podcasts). Registration is required, but it's free.

Allen Guelzo, Henry L. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Gettysburg College (PA), "contends that the proclamation is among the most misunderstood of the Civil War era, a necessary and even desperate attempt by Lincoln to enact a form of emancipation that would pass legal muster." Guelzo delivered this lecture on April 21, 2004 at the New-York Historical Society. Running Time is 39 minutes, 46 seconds.

On a serious note, for those of you who haven't eaten your Hoppin' John and Greens yet, local cook and newspaper columnist, Ervena Faulkner, isn't whistling "Dixie" when she says "Don't risk bad luck by skippin hoppin'john". Recipes are available in Mrs. Faulkner's Beaufort Gazette column, Pat Branning's feature on the Beaufort Tribune and on the our own Library website.

About the Author

Grace Cordial has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Beaufort District Collection at the Beaufort County Library since 1999.  The Beaufort District Collection exists to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history, culture, and environment of our part of the South Carolina lowcountry.  Besides the research room, Cordial manages the “Virtual BDC:” the BDC web pages, the Online Obituary Index, two digital collections, a new BDC.BCL Facebook page, and the Connections blog.  
 
Among her duties is to coordinate or present programs about local history, Gullah culture, and our coastal environment, including occasional instructional sessions about how to perform historical and/or genealogical research.