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North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction$
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Paul D. Escott

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832226

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807837269_escott

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Visions of Freedom and Civilization Opening before Them: African Americans Search for Autonomy during Military Occupation in North Carolina

Visions of Freedom and Civilization Opening before Them: African Americans Search for Autonomy during Military Occupation in North Carolina

Chapter:
(p.69) Visions of Freedom and Civilization Opening before Them: African Americans Search for Autonomy during Military Occupation in North Carolina
Source:
North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction
Author(s):

Judkin Browning

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807837269_escott.6

This chapter illustrates one of the ways in which African Americans asserted their independence in the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation in occupied Carteret and Craven counties. Many slaves felt emboldened by the Proclamation as a direct acknowledgment of their right to freedom and, as a consequence, their right to assert themselves. Perhaps it was under the influence of such feelings that on a brisk, early January 1863 day, an African American woman sought out Davis, a man she knew well, to insist that her daughter be released from servitude, provoking an incident recounted at the beginning of the chapter. The woman's ability to “support herself” and her assertion of her independence probably rankled the former slaveholder Davis as much as any Federal policy did. In southern society, whites believed a black person's proper role was as a dependent.

Keywords:   African Americans, Emancipation Proclamation, right to freedom, independence, Federal policy, dependent, southern society

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