Today Jacob Eliot, a Baptist layman, lawyer and former slaveowner from Corsicana, Texas, is not entirely happy about the end of slavery. Nonetheless, today he uses his legal position to help four freedmen who apparently had not been his slaves.
“I procured license for Joe McCullough and Charlie Thomas, two old freedmen – to get married to their wives. They had lived with them many years and had raised large families.”
McCullough, Thomas and their common-law wives during enslavement had not been allowed to marry due to slaves laws forbidding formal matrimony. In this and so many other ways, black Southerners had been dehumanized for generations. Now, even in the face of widespread white resentment, African Americans of the South are, at least in some respects, entering into a world in which they enjoy freedoms long confined to white Southerners only.
Source: Jacob Eliot Diary, November 7, 1865 (link)