Some were slaves who endured their last years of servitude before escaping from their masters; some were soldiers who fought for the freedom of their brethren and for equal rights; some were reporters who covered the defeat of their oppressors. Here, for the first time, are collected the testimonies of African Americans who witnessed the Civil War. They include the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass on the meaning of the war; Martin R. Delany on his meeting with Lincoln to gain permission to raise an army of African Americans; Susie King Taylor on her life as a laundress and nurse to a Union regiment in the deep South; Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln's seamstress, on Abraham Lincoln's journey to Richmond after its fall; Elijah P. Marrs on rising from slave to Union sergeant while fighting for his freedom in Kentucky; letters from black soldiers to black newspapers; and much more.
Donald Yacovone is the senior associate editor at the Massachusetts Historical Society and editor of the Massachusetts Historical Review. His books include a collection of essays on the 54th Massachusetts Regiment and an edition of the Civil War letters of George E. Stephens. He also helped edit the Black Abolitionist Papers. He lives in Medford, Massachusetts.