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Explore the Constellation

Defining Freedom

Slavery

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865, formally abolished slavery in the United States. But ending slavery was only the first step toward securing full freedom and citizenship for African Americans. This website outlines the journey towards the constitutional abolition of slavery in the United States and examines the legacies of the 13th Amendment’s "involuntary servitude” exemption clause.