Museum Hosts Presentation by Professor
Black History Month provides an opportunity to showcase the service of black Americans during the Civil War in this, the second year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
Professor Charles Anderson, of Texas Central University's Fort Bragg campus, will present his annual program, "Red, White, Blue & Black," at the Museum of the Cape Fear on Feb. 23, at 7 p.m.
The Civil War is the watershed event in U.S. history; it was blue versus gray, brother verses brother, union versus disunion. For millions of African-Americans it was about opportunity and freedom. What role did African-Americans play in getting their freedom?
From the very onset of the war, African-Americans had a vested interest in the outcome. Victory for the Union would mean freedom, the ending of that "Peculiar Institution," and, more importantly, citizenship.
This was a goal Frederick Douglass emphasized when he said, "Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship."
"African-Americans had to fight for the right to fight," says Anderson.
When the war began, African-Americans offered their service to the Union only to be told by Secretary of War Simon Cameron, "This Department has no intention at present to call into the service of the Government any colored soldiers."
The Emancipation Proclamation would provide the chance, allowing black enlistment in the Union Army. That call was answered in droves. From across America, African-Americans answered the call and fought under the banner United States Colored Troops.
"If you've seen the movie 'Glory' about the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, come learn about the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, the Louisiana Native Guard, and the more than 209,000 black soldiers who wore the Union blue," says a spokesman.
Anderson's presentation will also include African-Americans who served in the Confederate Army.
Admission is free. For more information, call (910) 486-1330 or visit www. museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov.
The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is located on the corner of Bradford and Arsenal avenues in Fayetteville.
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