February Marks 145th Anniversary of Abolishment of Slavery

Expert Describes Events That Led to 13th Amendment

SCHOHARIE, NY--(Marketwire - February 11, 2010) - As America approaches the 145th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution -- the act that not only freed the slaves but also made slave ownership perpetually illegal in America -- Frank Meredith wants to shine a little perspective on the celebration.

"On one hand, we can't ignore that we've gone from the enslavement of African Americans to now having an African American president," said Meredith, author of the Civil War novel "The Unfinished Work" from CreateSpace and the Greenleaf Press Book Group (www.theunfinishedwork.com). "What most people don't realize, however, is that the 13th Amendment -- while changing the law -- did not change the attitudes of most Americans. The majority of Americans did not hail the signing of the 13th Amendment as a victory, and many did little or nothing to help the newly freed slaves assimilate into the population of free people."

Meredith added that many perceptions of the views of Northerners and Southerners during the Civil War simply aren't based in reality. In fact, the founding fathers initially attempted to abolish slavery with the writing of the Constitution, but the pressure to maintain the status quo overwhelmed those efforts, according to Meredith.

"The signing was a milestone, but it didn't change opinions," he said. "While the moral basis for the 13th Amendment was sound, it didn't necessarily reflect the idea that most Americans were behind the act. The election of President Barack Obama was very similar. While it was a great milepost for race relations and the ultimate expression of America as a melting pot of world cultures and ethnicities, there are still reminders that not everyone is on that boat together. Just because we have a black president doesn't mean there isn't unfinished work left to do with regard to race relations out there. Hate and bigotry still live, and there are still people out there who don't like President Obama, and not because of his politics, but because of the color of his skin."

About Frank Meredith

Frank Meredith grew up in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where he witnessed the 100th Anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Hanover in 1963, and he has been a Civil War buff ever since. His non-fiction writing has appeared in several newspapers and journals.

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