Monday, July 13, 2009

Just fourteen slave states?

Interesting article this morning on the digitation of Freedman’s Bureau records in Virginia in the Winston-Salem Journal. You can read the whole article here. However, part of the article is misleading. Five paragraphs down, we find this statement: “Virginia is the first of the 14 former slave-owning states to have its records digitized.” Now wait a minute…. There are a lot more than “14 former slave—owning states…” In 1861, at the start of the war, there were fifteen “slave-owning” states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Add to this list the District of Columbia, which did not abolish slavery until April 1862, and in 1863, West Virginia, which was admitted to the Union as a slave slate. Of course, there was still slavery in New Jersey, the Nebraska Territory, and in Oklahoma/IndianTerritory.

But that’s not all of them – the shackles of slavery did not come off until 1848 in Connecticut, 1845 in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, 1842 in Rhode Island, 1827 in New York, 1783 in Massachusetts, and 1777 in Vermont. Wow, that’s a lot more than “14 former slave-owning states…”

I’m going to imply that the author of the article meant that there were fourteen slaves that the Freedman’s Bureau operated in after the close of the war. I just wish he would have written that.

No comments: