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Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note Themes of movement and mobility unite the essays in this issue. We begin with Amy Murrell Taylor’s 2019 Watson Brown Award acceptance speech for her book Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps. The speech encapsulates a central contention of Taylor’s book—that movement was critical to the lived experience of emancipa- tion. Historians are already familiar with the broad strokes of this story: refugees from slavery escaped plantations and followed Union armies or sought shelter behind Union lines. In the process, they drove American generals and politicians to enact emancipation. Taylor uncovers a lesser- known bottom-up politics of freedom that emerged as mobile refugees built and rebuilt communities with the ebb and flow of war, traveled in search of new economic opportunities or spiritual fulfillment, and strug - gled for access to resources. Following novelist Tayari Jones’s advice to “write about people and their problems, not problems and their people,” Taylor emphasizes the importance of listening to individual refugees’ voices to understand how they built the foundations of freedom in their day-to-day struggles for survival. Marco Basile’s essay continues on the theme of mobility by examining how the movement of enslaved Africans and American bureaucrats pre- http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

Themes of movement and mobility unite the essays in this issue. We begin with Amy Murrell Taylor’s 2019 Watson Brown Award acceptance speech for her book Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps. The speech encapsulates a central contention of Taylor’s book—that movement was critical to the lived experience of emancipa- tion. Historians are already familiar with the broad strokes of this story: refugees from slavery escaped plantations and followed Union armies or sought shelter behind Union lines. In the process, they drove American generals and politicians to enact emancipation. Taylor uncovers a lesser- known bottom-up politics of freedom that emerged as mobile refugees built and rebuilt communities with the ebb and flow of war, traveled in search of new economic opportunities or spiritual fulfillment, and strug - gled for access to resources. Following novelist Tayari Jones’s advice to “write about people and their problems, not problems and their people,” Taylor emphasizes the importance of listening to individual refugees’ voices to understand how they built the foundations of freedom in their day-to-day struggles for survival. Marco Basile’s essay continues on the theme of mobility by examining how the movement of enslaved Africans and American bureaucrats pre-

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jun 1, 2020

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