Annual Robert R. Wilson Lecture: "You will please let me know if we are free": The Dissolution of Property Rights in Human Beings in War and the Bounds of Freedom

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 • 12:30 PM • Law School 3041Duke Law Events

In August of 1864, Annie Davis wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln. She expressed her "desire to be free" and asked Lincoln to let her know if she was indeed free. Did her mistress still have a property right in her or could she leave and go where she pleased? Davis' query addressed a fundamental question: when did slavery end? This lecture explores that question - the indeterminate status of black people in the South - during the Civil War and after the passage of the 13th Amendment. Sponsored by the Office of the Dean. For more information, please contact Kristin Triebel at

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