This special thematic issue of the Civil War Book Review is dedicated to recent works that uncover, reveal, and recast the history of Black Americans’ emancipation activism in the Civil War Era. The concept of emancipation carried myriad meanings among nineteenth-century Black Americans, which the scholarship reviewed below reflects. These authors have catalogued nineteenth-century Black Americans’ vibrant and dynamic efforts to emancipate themselves from slavery, to achieve citizenship and its attendant rights, to secure personal safety, to gain social standing, and to attain economic stability. These books emphasize nineteenth-century African Americans possessed a complex political consciousness that was finely tuned to local, state, and national political developments and white efforts to limit their rights. Their political consciousness inspired their long-standing determination to gain what they knew was deservedly theirs—as Americans, as humans—without waiting for a white savior.