"On New Year's Day 1863, Quinn Chapel, a Black church in Chicago, hosted a celebration
of the Emancipation Proclamation," Ron Grossman writes in the Chicago Tribune.
"Abraham Lincoln's executive order freeing the Confederacy's slaves had just gone
into effect, triggering a mass movement of Southern blacks rejecting fear and embracing hope....
as it now seems, Southerners were stunned when Blacks voted for freedom with their feet in the third year of the Civil War.
One of the intellectual underpinnings of slavery was a fantasy that happy-go-lucky African-Americans were content to toil
for others' benefit. Desperate for an explanation of what had gone wrong, some slave owners blamed religion, as the Tribune
noted in November 1863, quoting a Virginia newspaper. 'Upon the last appearance of the Yankees at Fredericksburg the only
negroes who went off with them when they retired were those who belonged to, or were frequenters of, the African church there,'
the Richmond Whig reported. 'This is bad for the Christian religion.'