High School Chapter 3:
The 13th Amendment: Was Freedom Achieved?
In 1865, the ratification of the 13th Amendment officially ended slavery in the United States. After fighting for their liberty before and during the Civil War, enslaved African Americans saw their dreams of emancipation realized. In the years that followed the end of the war, Virginia and other southern states had to reconfigure their social, economic, and political systems during a period called Reconstruction. During this era, newly freed Black Virginians experienced advancements but also encountered barriers to achieving true equality. This lesson explores whether African Americans truly “free” following the passage of the 13th Amendment.