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Illusions of EmancipationThe Pursuit of Freedom and Equality in the Twilight of Slavery$
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Joseph P. Reidy

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648361

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648361.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 31 March 2020

Tremors and Whirlpools

Tremors and Whirlpools

Chapter:
(p.194) Chapter 6 Tremors and Whirlpools
Source:
Illusions of Emancipation
Author(s):

Joseph P. Reidy

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648361.003.0007

In times of war, physical space may appear to shed its customary character of permanence and become pliable. Places that in times of peace signify safety and security might during war become scenes of danger, even death. Federal emancipation policy accentuated this tendency, as civilians and soldiers alike employed space to new ends, often polar opposites of its earlier uses. When freedom-seeking refugees gained the protection of the U.S. Army, they benefited from a cordon of safety that transcended the fixed space of military camps to encompass armies on the move as well as at rest. The winds of change swept through plantation big-houses, fields, and workshops, where enslaved women and men moved more slowly and spoke less respectfully than usual. The bodies of water that lapped on the shores and cut through the interior of the Confederacy proved especially amenable to loosening the bonds of slavery. Nonetheless, black sailors in the U.S. Navy discovered that constraints as well as opportunities accompanied this particular route to freedom.

Keywords:   physical space, federal emancipation policy, freedom-seeking refugees, U.S. Army, bodies of water, black sailors, U.S. Navy

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