The US Union forces captured the South Carolina Sea Islands just seven months after the start of the Civil War. Suddenly, a perfect storm was created to test a social idea that had only been, up to that moment, entertained in the wild speculations of radical, Northern abolitionists.
As the large, imposing fleet of Federal vessels sailed into Port Royal Sound, the white plantation owners fled in fear leaving behind some eight to ten thousand people they’d formerly held in forced bondage.
It was within this “Port Royal Experiment” where two of the most famous historical figures of the American freedom movement were center-stage, interacting with each other through an extraordinary group of intermediaries. People who would not stop until they had convinced the world that immediate emancipation of their country’s enslaved population was the only way to go forward as a unified nation.