Reflection On The Illusory Nature Of The Emancipation Proclamation

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For years intellectuals and historians have dwelled on the illusory nature of the Emancipation Proclamation. When it was first declared by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, not a single black slave in the Southern Confederation was actually free to leave their master. Only after the Union won the Civil War would slaves in the south be able to walk away as freemen. Yet, as W.E.B. Du Bois reminds us, freedom for African Americans was a “brief moment in the sun,” before they were to return to system akin to slavery. Once African Americans secured the abolition of slavery, they immediately found themselves victim to racial backlash. The notion of racial difference continued to prevail beyond the intuition that it gave birth to. Because slavery

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