World History

How did slaves react to the Emancipation Proclamation?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. The abolitionists, freed slaves and other Northerners celebrated on the night the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, but slaves living in the South didn't hear about it until much later. Slaves in Key West, Fla., for example, didn't hear the news until January 1863, and in parts of Texas, it took two more years for the news to finally arrive. In any case, the general reaction to the news was movement - - slaves moved to cities, distancing themselves from plantations and from their masters. Many enlisted in the army. Despite concerns about violent behavior toward former masters and a paragraph in the proclamation stating so, there were no uprisings or riots, and few reports of violence.

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