Discover the history of Juneteenth
On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that as of January 1, 1863, all enslaved people in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” ...read more
Does an Exception Clause in the 13th Amendment Still Permit Slavery?
The year the Civil War ended, the U.S. amended the Constitution to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude. But it purposefully left in one big loophole for people convicted of crimes. The 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865, says: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, ...read more
Why Ralph Ellison Never Published a Second Novel During His Lifetime
Hailed as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, “Invisible Man,” established Ralph Ellison as one of the most celebrated writers in America. Fans, critics and scholars alike waited impatiently for his second novel, which Ellison had begun writing by the mid-1950s. They ...read more
What Is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation ...read more
What Abraham Lincoln Thought About Slavery
1. Lincoln wasn’t an abolitionist. Abraham Lincoln did believe that slavery was morally wrong, but there was one big problem: It was sanctioned by the highest law in the land, the Constitution. The nation’s founding fathers, who also struggled with how to address slavery, did ...read more
Slavery in America
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, people were kidnapped from the continent of Africa, forced into slavery in the American colonies and exploited to work in the production of crops such as tobacco and cotton. By the mid-19th century, America’s westward expansion and the ...read more
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865 in the aftermath of the Civil War, abolished slavery in the United States. The 13th Amendment states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly ...read more