Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation may have officially exempted Kentucky, but the state was hardly exempt from the long and difficult process of destroying slavery during the American Civil War. Turning attention to the hastily erected camps of men, women, and children who fled slavery and sought refuge with the U.S. Army ("refugee" or "contraband" camps), in places like Paducah and Louisville, Columbus and Nicholasville, this talk will describe the very first wartime encounters between Kentucky's refugees from slavery and the military power of the federal government. These encounters launched the real work of securing freedom in everyday life—but also reveal that the path to liberation would be anything but a smooth or straight one.
Amy Murrell Taylor is the T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Professor in the Department of History at the University of Kentucky.
This lecture takes place over Zoom. Admission is free thanks to our sponsors, PNC Bank and John & Jeannie Vezeau.