“As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom…. [S]ome man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.”
– Booker T. Washington
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Booker T. Washington Quote on Emancipation Sources
Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery: An Autobiography. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1901 / Portrait taken circa 1905 – Johnston, Frances Benjamin, photographer. Booker T. Washington, half-length portrait, seated. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2010645746/>. / Wikimedia Commons