Last Saturday marked one of the most moving experiences I’ve had at Historic Stagville. The State Archives of North Carolina displayed NC’s original copy of the 13th Amendment in the slave quarters at Horton Grove as part of Stagville’s 2014 Juneteenth celebrations. Viewers were moved to tears by the juxtaposition of this document and its surroundings.
Here is a transcription of the document:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
The folks from from the State Archive kindly allowed me to photograph the document before events started for the day. Here are my images of the 13th Amendment in the slave quarters at Stagville:
Having just seen these documents and then hearing Yolanda Hall sing several traditional spirituals in the grove outside the building brought a silence on the visitors that I have not witnessed before in my time working at Stagville on my Stagville: Black & White exhibit.
Listen to her sing “Watch & Pray” here:
A huge thank you to the folks at the State Archives of North Carolina and Historic Stagville.