In the short story "A Worn Path," the old woman Phoenix Jackson says:

I never did go to school—I was too old at the Surrender.

Per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "surrender" is defined as

to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand,

but since "surrender" is clearly used as a noun in this case, what would be the correct definition in this context?

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Drew, Glorfindel, tchrist Apr 15 '17 at 13:59

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    The same M-W article gives << 2 surrender noun: 1 a : the action of yielding one's person or giving up the possession of something especially into the power of another ... 2: an instance of surrendering ... Examples of surrender in a sentence: Their surrender was formalized in a treaty. / They demanded an unconditional surrender. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 14 '17 at 18:11

This refers to Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox in 1865 which ended the US Civil War. Note the capital "S" in the word "Surrender" points to this being a proper noun or name-like device.

While this may not strictly be the exact moment of peace-making, it certainly is the pivotal event in peoples' minds.

Bear in mind that the story was published in 1941, so the idea that the woman could have been too old for school in 1865 is not too hard to fathom. This timeline is also reinforced by the idea that she would have be proscribed from school and learning to read in some jurisdictions prior to emancipation.

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