Emilie Davis was a free black woman living in Philadelphia during the Civil War. Her three diaries, written in 1863, 1864, and 1865, highlight her perspective on many important historical moments, such as, the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln’s assassination, and the Battle of Gettysburg. Comparing her diaries to other accounts and sources from the same time period will allow students to see the world in which that Emilie lived. As a woman in her early twenties, she was concerned with her personal goals, friends, and daily routines. Yet, layered within those accounts, is a world where racism is still very prevalent and violence is often not far away.
This unit will focus on African American education, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Presidential election of 1864. These lessons were created by the Memorable Days Project at Villanova University. These lessons work in conjunction with the recent book, Emilie Davis’s Civil War, edited by Judith Giesberg. This book is a transcription, with annotations, of the original diaries. For more information on the diaries, visit https://davisdiaries.villanova.edu/