Cover for Justice for Ourselves
Justice for Ourselves
Black Virginians Claim Their Freedom after Slavery
John G. Deal, Marianne E. Julienne, and Brent Tarter. Foreword by Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan
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A new look at the Black Virginians who defined and realized their freedom after the collapse of slavery

“Verily, the work does not end with the abolition of slavery,” wrote Frederick Douglass in 1862, “but only begins.” The Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment altered a legal status; to make freedom a reality represented a different challenge altogether.

Justice for Ourselves tells the stories of remarkable Black men and women in post–Civil War Virginia who persevered in the face of overwhelming barriers to seek their freedom and create a new world for themselves and future generations. Drawing on the life stories of individuals from all regions of the state—political leaders, teachers, ministers, journalists, and entrepreneurs—Justice for Ourselves recounts their quests to attain full American citizenship and economic independence before the onset of Jim Crow repression. Centering Black voices, this book includes tales of opportunities seized and opportunities lost and will reshape the narrative of Black history and the history of Virginia in the second half of the nineteenth century.
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