Monday, February 7, 2011

National Black History Month

February is National Black History month and the founders, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History have named this year's theme: African Americans and the Civil War. From the ASALH website:

In 1861, as the United States stood at the brink of Civil War, people of African
descent, both enslaved and free persons, waited with a watchful eye. They
understood that a war between the North and the South might bring about
jubilee--the destruction of slavery and universal freedom. When the
Confederacy fired upon Fort Sumter and war ensued, President Abraham
Lincoln maintained that the paramount cause was to preserve the Union, not
end slavery. Frederick Douglass, the most prominent black leader, opined that
regardless of intentions, the war would bring an end to slavery, America’s
“peculiar institution.”

Over the course of the war, the four million people of African descent in the
United States proved Douglass right. Free and enslaved blacks rallied around
the Union flag in the cause of freedom. From the cotton and tobacco fields of
the South to the small towns and big cities of the North, nearly 200,000 joined
the Grand Army of the Republic and took up arms to destroy the Confederacy.
They served as recruiters, soldiers, nurses, and spies, and endured unequal
treatment, massacres, and riots as they pursued their quest for freedom and
equality. Their record of service speaks for itself, and Americans have never
fully realized how their efforts saved the Union.

Below are a few book selections from your library to begin reading up on African American history and the Civil war. You can also visit our website ( to use our new resource "African American Heritage." This resource is dedicated to helping African Americans conduct genealogical research.

David Ruggles : a radical black abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City
by Graham Russell Hodges.
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press,
Pub date: 2010.
Pages: 266 p.
ISBN: 9780807833261

Firebrand of liberty : the story of two Black regiments that changed the course of the Civil War
by Stephen V. Ash.
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.,
Pub date: 2008.
Pages: 282 p.
ISBN: 9780393065862

Eagles on their buttons : a Black infantry regiment in the Civil War
by Versalle F.Washington
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Pub date: 1999.
Pages: 113 p.
ISBN: 0826212344


Black Soldiers American Civil War.jpg was taken from:
Quoted text from: 

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