unchainedToday is more than another dry date in the history books. December 6, 1865, marks the adoption of another Amendment to the US Constitution. To the nation, and the world, it was the day America said Never again!” A day when former slaves rejoiced,


158 years ago today, the catastrophic civil war was over, our beloved president Abraham Lincoln was dead from an assassin’s bullet, and America was pulling itself together after our ordeal by fire and blood, challenging ourselves to be the nation we could be and should be.

Towards that end, we responded as one nation once again to formally outlaw the abomination of slavery for all time, passing this short amendment to our Constitution:

Section 1. 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.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

By these words we reaffirmed that indeed, all men were created equal, and never again would we attempt to enslave another human being.

Abolition didn’t make us a perfect country or a noble people, but it was one more conscious improvement in our nation and in ourselves, a determination to do better and to be better, a public declaration that we are all in this world together to make of it what we can.

America is still on that quest, a work in progress, always refining our approach as we chase our goal of finally becoming the America of our finest ideas and highest ideals. No man is free when one man is a slave, and no man can stake a claim to humanity while denying the humanity of others. “Free at last, free at last, good God Almighty we’re free at last!”

•Suggested Activities: Do what you want to do, go where you want to go.

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