Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving 1862 from the Journal of Charlotte Forten

Thursday, November 27 ~ "Thanksgiving Day" 

This, according to Gen. [Rufus] Saxton's noble Proclamation was observed as a day of "Thanksgiving and praise." It has been a lovely day - cool, delicious air, golden, gladdening sunlight, deep blue sky, with soft white clouds floating over it. Had we no other causes the glory and beauty of the day alone make it a day for which to give thanks. But we have other causes, great and glorious, which unite to make this peculiarly a day of thanksgiving and praise. It has been a general holiday. According to Gen. Saxton's orders an animal was killed on each plantation that the people might to-day eat fresh meat, which is a great luxury to them, and indeed to all of us here. This morning a large number - Superintendents, teachers, and freed people, assembled in the little Baptist church. It was a sight I shall not soon forget - that crowd of eager, happy black faces from which the shadow of slavery had forever passed. "Forever free!" "Forever free!" Those magical words were all the time singing themselves in my soul, and never before have I felt so truly grateful to God. 

... And what a significant fact it is that one may now sit here in safety - here in the rebellious little Palmetto State ...

But this has been the happiest, most jubilant Thanksgiving day of my life. We hear of cold weather and heavy snow-storms up in the North land. But here roses and oleanders are blooming in the open air. Figs and oranges are ripening, the sunlight is warm and bright, and over all shines gloriously the blessed light of Freedom - Freedom forevermore! 

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