Because the marriages of most slaves were not legal, one of the first things freed men and women did was to find a judge or minister to perform a legal ceremony.
Without a legal document, they feared someone might try to split up their families.
Mothers began looking for children who had been taken away from them and sold; fathers, for sons and daughters; sisters, for brothers.
In 1867-68 Edmonia Lewis became the first African American to create a statue about the freeing of slaves.
Called Forever Free, the marble sculpture now belongs to the Howard University Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.