"When you are dead and in Heaven, in a thousand years
that action of yours will make the Angels sing your praises."
Hannah Johnson, mother of a Northern Black
soldier, writing to President Abraham Lincoln about the Emancipation
Proclamation, July 31, 1863
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation
Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third
year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons
held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward
shall be free."