The Vanguard of Liberty Must Look into the Past
CELEBRATIONS OF FREEDOM
YES, THE NATION WILL GO TO THE CEMETERY
AT SPRINGFIELD TO-DAY, AND SHEDDING THE
TEAR-DROP ON THE YET FRESH GRAVE OF
Abraham Lincoln, WILL SWEAR BY HIM, AND
ALL THEIR ORPHANS AND WIDOWS, AND
SLAIN, AND WOUNDED, AND BROKEN-
HEARTED, TO MAINTAIN THE HONOR OF THE
STARRY STANDARD — the Union of these States —
the liberty of all men — forever and forever.
James Lynch in Augusta, Georgia,
4 July 1865
Dramatic scenes unfolded even before the Civil War was over. African Americans throughout the country rejoiced at Federal victories and celebrated President Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on 1 January 1863. The president had devised the proclamation so that it applied only to slaves residing in rebellious states; he exempted Union-occupied territories of Louisiana and Virginia, as well as Tennessee and border states that remained loyal to the Union. But this did not stop African Americans — even in officially excluded areas — from celebrating.