Kimball diary, 1863

Sigismunda Stribling Kimball Diary, #2534

There was little natural alliance between white women and black female slaves during the war. In this diary entry of February 24, 1863, Sigismunda Stribling Kimball of Shenandoah County, Virginia, angrily recorded the return of two runaway slaves with Union cavalry who liberated a slave woman named Fairinda and her children. When offered her choice of the plantation's goods Fairinda responded "she did not want anything but herself."

Letter, 1863

Micajah Woods Papers, #10279

Letter, December 17, 1863, of a Virginia plantation mistress regarding the duplicity of Edmonia, a slave woman sent on an errand. However, the slave instead returned with a group of Union soldiers and with their encouragement opened her owner's trunks and "took all she could carry."

Scott certificate, 1864

Papers of the Cabell Family, #5084

Slave wives and husbands, often separated because of residency on different plantations, sought to visit each other despite the war. In this January 9, 1864 certificate, W. C. Scott verifies his slave Willis Garland has permission to marry Martha Brown, a slave owned by a Mrs. Francis Cabell of Liberty Hall, Nelson County, Virginia. Scott adds that Garland will have visitation rights with Martha "at least three times annually."

Berry interview

Slavery-Virginia: Interviews With Ex-Slaves, #3429

Mrs. Fannie Berry joined other slaves in celebrating the South's defeat and the ending of slavery. Nearly seventy years after war, during a Works Progress Administration oral interview, Berry recalled a song the emancipated slaves sang upon learning of their freedom:"You are free, you are free."