Baptists and the American Civil War: August 4, 1865

preliminary_emancipationSam Richards and his family, members of the Second Baptist Church of Atlanta, fled the city in the wake of Sherman’s coming and temporarily moved to New York City.

With the war over, today they depart New York for the return trip to Atlanta. The Richards are among a number of white Southerners who fled to the North during the war and are now returning home. While committed to their home states and often to white supremacy, many of the Northern exiles are hopeful that racial relations in the South can be improved.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, Creek Indian tribal leaders decree that African Creeks can be considered full citizens of the Creek Nation. In celebration of being granted citizenship, African Creeks in the years to come set aside August 4 as their Emancipation Day, the annal event replete with picnics, parades and speakers.

The August 4 celebrations continue through the remainder of the century and into Oklahoma statehood, only to be discontinued as white state leaders marginalize African Creeks and other Indians.

Sources: Sam Richards’s Civil War diary: a Chronicle of the Atlanta Home Front, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009, August 4, 1865, p. 291ff (link); Emancipation Day (August 4, 1865) (link)