This chapter picks up with the situation in eastern Virginia and describes the importance of finding a place—a shelter—in the journey of a refugee from slavery. It begins with a discussion of the Emancipation Proclamation and its geography, paying particular attention to the places exempted from its reach, such as Fort Monroe, and Hampton, Virginia. It acknowledges that other policies already in place, such as the Confiscation Acts and especially a March 1862 article of war, still enabled people to flee to Union lines in some of the proclamation’s exempted regions. This meant, in turn, that finding a shelter, and thus a physical anchor, in Union lines was crucial to claiming freedom for any man, woman, or child. But the landscape of these shelters was uneven across the South, ranging from collections of cast-off army tents in some places, to formalized, planned settlements in others. The chapter analyzes these places as a cultural landscape of emancipation, arguing that these physical structures channeled into concrete form some of the more abstract ideas and beliefs about race, equality, freedom, and citizenship.
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