I’m about to share my own glimpse of that historic day, from previous drafts of the book. But here are experts who remind us whose victory this was.

In America

by Alicia W. Stewart, CNN

(CNN) — When Hannah Johnson wrote President Lincoln in the summer of 1863, she expressed the concerns of any mother with a son fighting a war.

But she had a special request: “I am a colored woman and my son was strong and able as any to fight for his country and the colored people have as much to fight for as any…. Will you see that the colored men fighting now, are fairly treated. You ought to do this, and do it at once.”

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation became the first authorization by an American president to enroll Johnson’s son, and other black men, as legal soldiers for the United States military.

Emancipation and the enlistment of black soldiers were not President Lincoln’s initial impulse. He wanted to make a gradual change, as he wrote in this letter

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