Mere days after the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution eradicating slavery throughout the nation, white citizens of Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Old Confederacy, remain defiant in defending white supremacy and black subservience.
In many homes, however, fathers are absent, having lost their lives during the war. Thus the children of the city, whether orphaned or not, represent Richmond’s next generation.
Today the First Baptist Church of Richmond hosts a city-wide Sunday School meeting at which Richmond’s white churches are represented. An estimated 3,000 persons are in attendance. The occasion offers hope and joy to participants, following four years of war and some seven months of post-war political maneuvering.
“The largest Sunday School meeting which has been held in this city for four years took place at the First Baptist Church yesterday afternoon. There were from twenty-five hundred to three thousand persons present, a large majority of whom were children, and a look at their smiling, happy faces was a sight which did our heart’s good. Interspersed with the business of the meeting were a number of those beautiful hymns from the “Golden Censor,” sung by the whole congregation; and the union of earnest, cheerful voices raised a chorus which those who heard will not soon forget.”
Source: “Baptist Sunday School Union,” Richmond Daily Dispatch, December 11, 1865 (link)