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After the Civil War, southern African Americans exercised their new freedom in many ways; one of them was traveling where and when they chose. Thousands of newly freedpeople took to the roads at war’s end, most of them trying to reunite with family members sold away or displaced during the war. In some cases, freedmen and women walked hundreds of miles in search of parents, children, siblings, or spouses. This engraving was published in Edward King’s The Great South, one of many postwar surveys of southern life that fed northerners’ curiosity about the region that they had defeated in war.

Source: (J. Wells Champney [W. L. Sheppard, del.]), Edward King, The Great South . . . (1875)—American Social History Project.