Baptists and the American Civil War: June 8, 1865

Freedmen in Richmond, Virginia.

Freedmen in Richmond, Virginia.

In the former Confederate capital of Richmond, white citizens are determined to retain control over their former slaves. This week white authorities resort to force and violence in order to preserve their control.

Black citizens, although now legally free according to the federal government, are forced in Richmond to obtain passes to go about town, and must abide by curfews. The object of such regulations is to drive blacks away from the city and to the countryside. Almost a thousand men, women and children have already been detained in “bullpens” this month.

In addition, black Richmonders this week testify that white authorities have resorted to verbal and physical abuse, including torture, as well as theft of the possessions of black citizens.

In the days to come, there will be more gruesome testimony as to the evils that white Richmonders are committing against free black Americans.

The battlefield war may be over, but the war for freedom remains.

Sources: “Richmond During the Civil War,” Encyclopedia Virginia (link); Elsa Barkley Brown, “Negotiating and Transforming the Public Sphere: African American Political Life in the Transition from Slavery to Freedom,” pp. 111-112 (link); image, Library of Congress (link)