One Quarter Of Freed Slaves Dead By 1870

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation condemned millions of slaves to death says historian Jim Downs in his book, 'Sick from Freedom'.

The executive order didn't free all the slaves, just the ones inside Union controlled territory. The GOP written and passed 13th amendment became law in January, 1865 completing the job.

Between 1862 and 1870 25% or one million of the four million negro slaves died from hunger, homelessness, disease, and extreme poverty.

'In the 19th century people did not want to talk about it, some did not care and abolitionist, when they saw so many freed people dying, feared that it proved true what some people said: that slaves were not able to exist on their own,' Prof Downs notes.

Suddenly slaves had nowhere to go. Millions crowded into 'contraband camps' run by the Union army.

A Union officer working at one of the camps wrote, 'dying by scores - that sometimes 30 per day die and are carried out by wagon-loads without coffins, and thrown promiscuously, like brutes, into a trench.'

What cost freedom? Telling the full story is part of the price.

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