Baptists and the American Civil War: January 22, 1865

sherman_003Today, while his forces are fanning out north of Savannah, U.S. General William T. Sherman is at Hilton Head, South Carolina. His movements are designed to convince Confederate forces that an attack on Charleston is imminent.

The ruse works, confusing the enemy. In reality, Sherman’s goal is Columbia, the state’s capital.

Meanwhile, in Springfield, Illinois black citizens convene at the Colored Baptist church to draft a petition to the state legislature for the repeal of Black Laws.

Activists from across the state are present. Their efforts this day bear fruition the month following when the Black Laws are taken off the state’s books, thereby repealing restrictive mandates under which black citizens have long lived.

The march of Emancipation in the South is thus felt in Illinois and elsewhere in the North as racist legal codes increasingly come tumbling down.

Sources: Letter, Sherman to Howard, January 22, 1865, Hilton Head (link); Thomas Bahde, The Life and Death of Gus Reed: A Story of Race and Justice in Illinois, Ohio University Press, 2014 (link)