Legacies of the Constitution: Understanding the Civil War and Emancipation in 21st Century America
In this virtual event, Chief of Interpretation Steve T. Phan examines the process of emancipation in Kentucky during and after the Civil War. Kentucky provides a unique insight into the contested struggle over emancipation in a state that overwhelmingly supported the Union and the institution of slavery. While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was null and void in the Border States, enslaved African American men attempted to self-emancipate by enlisting with the US Army. They were joined by the families, especially women and children, whose status as refugees was uncertain and precarious. Slavery remained legal in Kentucky and Delaware months after the war until ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865. This event will also explore how this history is interpreted today.