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Historical Document
Diary of a Refugee

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Click here for the text of this historical document.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Americans -- black and white, in the North and South -- began the process of reshaping the nation. The biggest change for southerners was emancipation. For many former slaveowners, the prospect of freed men and women was confusing and frightening. Some reacted with rage, others with compassion and concern.

The attached document is an excerpt from Diary of a Refugee, edited by Frances Fearn. It is the diary of Fearn's mother, a white southern slaveholding woman, recounting her experiences during and after the Civil War. In this segment, she considers emancipation and the effect it will have on her former slaves. She writes, "I wish that they could have been in some way educated or prepared for freedom, before it was so suddenly thrust upon them."

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Related Entries:
The Civil War and emancipation

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