Thus saith the Lord,
Let my people go.
? ? ? ? ? Exodus 8:1
The bloodbath called the Civil War had begun and would cost the lives of over 600,000 Americans. As the Union armies advanced south, refugee slaves followed. After the Northern capture of Roanoke Island in February 1862, more than 3,000 ex-slaves arrived on the island. At the direction of Maj. Gen. John G. Foster, Army chaplain Horace James organized a formal colony with one-acre lots provided for about 600 families on the northern end of the island. Schools, mills, and houses were built.
At the war's end almost 6,000 ex-slaves resided in Freedmen's Town. These people tasted the sweet air of liberty for the first time on the north end of Roanoke Island. Marriages were legalized and equal rights and privileges were granted in courts of law. The promise seemed to be finally coming true for African-Americans and they discovered what all free people know. Freedom is never free!
With my hands against my breast I was going to my work when the overseer used to whip me along. Now, no more of that, no more of that. We're free now; bless the Lord. They can't sell my wife and child anymore, bless the Lord, no more of that, no more of that. ? ? ? ? ? Harriet Tubman, 1862