Robert R. Wilson Lecture | Thavolia Glymph, "You will please let me know if we are free"

February 07, 2018

Thavolia Glymph, the John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor of American Legal History and a professor in the departments of History and African & African American Studies at Duke University gives the annual Robert R. Wilson Lecture titled, "'You will please let me know if we are free:' The Dissolution of Property Rights in Human Beings in War and the Bounds of Freedom."

In August of 1864, Annie Davis wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln. She expressed her "desire to be free" and asked Lincoln to let her know if she was indeed free. Did her mistress still have a property right in her or could she leave and go where she pleased? Davis' query addressed a fundamental question: When did slavery end? This lecture explores that question - the indeterminate status of black people in the South - during the Civil War and after the passage of the 13th Amendment.

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean.