Lastly, the Emancipation Proclamation itself, as important as it was, did not technically free any slaves at the time. There were four border states which had remained loyal to the Union (Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland) that had plenty of slaves, but the Proclamation excluded them. It also excluded selected parishes in Louisiana, and the southern states that were included in the Emancipation Proclamation did not answer to President Lincoln. The federal authority in the 11 confederate states was the Jefferson Davis government in Richmond, Va., and their slaves remained unfree unless they freed themselves in the ways they had absconded before.
This is not to show, once again, that many of our historical heroes and sheroes have clay feet. It is, however, to raise the issue that we still need to ask questions and think critically about all information presented to us about other folks being our salvation. We can only save ourselves, and we must not forget that. And it shall be our historical narratives that will be the North Star home.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO).
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