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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Re: Senate Rpt - Henry Adams 1880 Testimony

"I have conversed with colored men here from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia...[and I told them I] was working for my race to get them to leave the Southern States....for God says....that he has a place and a land for all his people, and our race had better go to it" Henry Adams, 1880

Born a slave in rural Newton County, Georgia in 1843, Adams and his family were taken some seven years later to the Lousiana Parish of De Soto, bordering northeast Texas, where they worked on plantations until learning of emancipation on Juneteenth, 1865.

Adams decided to join the U.S. Army in Septmber 1866. For the next three years, he served in three units and rose to the rank of quartermaster-sergeant....

In November 1878...joined with 13 officers and members to form the Shreveport-based Negro Union Cooperative Aid Association. They called a convention of the "Freedmen of North Louisiana" ...."for one mighty effort to elevate ourselves morally and socially, and aid each other in getting lands and homes, that we may not give all we make every year to stay on somebody's plantation"

Source: Chapter 7 "The Education of Henry Adams" in Steven Hahn "A National Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration" 2003, Harvard University Press.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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