As part of a series of posts related to Black History Month, we present an excerpt from David Roediger's Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All below.
(from an 1863 broadside with text by Frederick Douglass)
Before major battles [of the Civil War] had even been fought, slaves left slavery — just three at first, fleeing into the Virginia camp of Union general Benjamin Butler.
In celebration of 150th Juneteenth, and with an eye to the tragedy in Charleston, we share an excerpt from David Roediger's Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All in which Roediger chronicles Frederick Douglass's insight into the weakness of masters and the ability to anticipate revolutionary time.
"Douglass knew that slaves could be counted on to show up as opportunities for freedom arose. They showed up early, while the federal government was still toying with returning fugitives to their masters."