Archives of Michigan to Display Rare Slavery Document

An Eaton Rapids resident has donated a slavery freedom receipt to the Michigan Historical Center dating back to the Civil War. The document, known as a “manumission, is the first example in the state archives of what a former slave would have carried to prove his freedom.

Archivist Mark Harvey says the document has an important impact on black history.

I think it’s best stated by the donor himself. And he said, and I quote ‘If this document didn’t exist, I wouldn’t exist.’ And he also, I’ll quote him again in him saying, ‘It’s a symbol of how far we’ve come, and but it’s also a symbol in how far we have left to go,” Harvey says. 

Harvey says with February being Black History Month, it is the perfect time to put the document on display. He says the document will later be transcribed and made available for viewing. 

Image credit: Michigan Library/ CC

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Bre'Anna Tinsley

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