After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union army began recruiting African American soldiers. The first authorized black regiments came from Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Tennessee. While initially sluggish, recruitment of black soldiers reached 179,000 for the Union Army and 19,000 for the Union Navy by war’s end. Recruiting posters such as the one below inspired blacks to serve by appealing to their newfound sense of freedom.
Image Credit: The National Archives. The original poster is located in the Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s–1917, Record Group 94.