Arica L. Coleman // Slavery in America: The Cherokee Freedmen’s Forgotten Fight

Slavery in America: The Cherokee Freedmen’s Forgotten Fight | Time – But by the following fall, with the Nation sorely divided as thousands of Cherokee fled to Union lines, the Cherokee Council abrogated its treaty alliance with the Confederacy. On Feb. 19, 1863 — shortly after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect — the Cherokee Nation issued An Act Providing for the Abolition of Slavery in the Cherokee Nation, which called for “the immediate emancipation of all Slaves in the Cherokee Nation.” In a treaty ratified on July 27, 1866, the Cherokee Nation declared that those Freedmen “and their descendants, shall have all the rights of native Cherokees.”

It is these words the Freedmen held onto during their long legal battle. Marilyn Vann, a descendant of the James Vann family and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, expressed that idea to NPR after the decision was issued. “All we ever wanted,” she said, “was the rights promised us.”

%d bloggers like this: