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First Black Union Army Organizes

First black Union Army forces are organized in South Carolina.

Congress Incentivizes Emancipation

Congressional resolutions offer monetary incentives to states for emancipating slaves.

Congress Abolishes Slavery in Some Territories

Congress abolishes slavery in Washington, D.C., and the territories.

Lincoln Urges States to Adopt Emancipation

Lincoln urges the border states to adopt gradual, compensated emancipation and advocates the colonization of freed blacks.

Homestead Act

Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, which gives public land in the public domain to qualified private citizens, including black heads of house over 21 years old and single black women.

Second Confiscation Act

The Second Confiscation Act gives freedom to slaves of treasonous parties and supporters of the Confederate rebellion.

Militia Act

The Militia Act authorizes the President to employ all persons, including blacks, in military or naval service and gives enemy-owned slaves freedom in return for service to Union forces.

Southern States Use Slaves for Military Labor

Virginia, followed by other Southern states, authorizes the use of slaves to perform military labor.

South Carolina Slaves Take Confederate Ship

A group of South Carolina slaves, led by Robert Smalls, takes possession of The Planter, a Confederate ship, and delivers it to the Union army at Fort Sumpter.

South Carolina Allows Black Soldiers

South Carolina authorizes the recruitment of black soldiers.

First Black Regiment

The first black regiment with full War Department authorization is raised in South Carolina.

West Virginia Joins Union as Free State

West Virginia is admitted to the Union as a free state. Its constitution calls for gradual emancipation.

Utah Abolishes Slavery

Utah abolishes slavery.

Mary Jane Patterson Graduates Oberlin

In Ohio, Mary Jane Patterson receives a degree from Oberlin, becoming the first black woman to graduate from an American college.

Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

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