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A letter from J.B. Moore to business partners in Charleston bargaining for the return of persons he formerly enslaved on his plantation known as “The Ruins” in Sumter. Moore also discussed relations with a man he formerly enslaved named Washington and indicated that he had “no money to risk in loaning to any Negro in the present uncertain state of the laws in regard to that class, and especially to Washington as both himself and his wife are old and I supported them before the Yankees freed them.”

J.B. Moore Legal papers, the South Carolina Historical Society

These sentiments illustrate the depths of what W.E.B Du Bois identifies as white inability to recognize black humanity in the post-emancipation era.* Not long after, Moore writes again, this time angling to have the Freedmen’s Bureau pay for the return of the people he formerly enslaved to his plantation. Please “use any influence you may possess to have the poor devils sent up at gov’t charge.”

*W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 (New York: Atheneum, 1962), 381.