The sweltering air in Washington, D.C., had been as thick as honey that day. He could hardly contain his excitement. He was there in the Union's capital, a free man. Free to buy, free to sell, free to eat, sleep and work when he was good and ready, free to fight for his country.
The Proclamation hadn't taken effect in Georgia when Joseph left his plantation. Not that he cared. In his mind, he had left his mother's womb a free man, and that was how he intended to live the rest of his life.