August 22, 2016
'Today has been a memorable day and I thank God I have been spared to see it. The day was religiously observed, all the churches were open. We had quite a jubilee in the evening. " And so began the 1863 diary of Emilie Davis, a young free black woman living in Philadelphia, as she recounted the Emancipation Proclamation. Davis' three pocket diaries - each no larger than a smartphone - span the years 1863, 1864, and 1865. Purchased by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1999, the diaries provide a remarkable glimpse of Philadelphia's free black community during the Civil War. "Few diaries by young women of this period survive, even fewer from African American women," said Tamara Gaskell, public historian in residence at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities.
June 27, 2016 |
It took 151 years but an official Juneteenth celebration arrived at Independence Mall with a parade and wreath-laying ceremony last weekend outside the slave quarters of the President's House at Sixth and Market Streets. Juneteenth is the name given to June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger, backed by 2,000 troops, announced from a balcony of Ashton Villa on Galveston Island, "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free ... " This was news that day to the assembled former slaves in Galveston, even though Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation 21/2 years earlier, on Jan. 1, 1863.
March 26, 2016 |
Where to begin? A knockout production of An Octoroon , by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed mightily by Joanna Settle, has just opened at the Wilma Theater. Well, it's not exactly by Jacobs-Jenkins, but rather radically reimagined and adapted from a 19th-century melodrama by Dion Boucicault called The Octoroon . So this is a contemporary play - note the An in the title rather than The - about theater history. Boucicault's play is about slaves on a plantation in the Deep South - this is Tara territory - and is thus about racial injustice (radical in itself, since the original play predates the Emancipation Proclamation)
July 23, 2013 |
At a time when economic and civil rights issues are at the forefront in the news, the National Urban League will hold its annual conference in Philadelphia, marking key anniversaries in African American history. The theme of the group's conference, which runs from Wednesday through Saturday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, is "Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America. " The event marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, at which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
February 3, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington for Civil Rights were 100 years apart, but both changed the nation and expanded freedoms. The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is presenting a walk back in time through two eras. A new exhibition, "Changing America," parallels the 1863 emancipation of slaves with the 1963 march. An inkwell Lincoln used to draft what would become the Emancipation Proclamation is on display on one side of the timeline, while the pen President Lyndon Johnson used to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is on the other.
January 14, 2013
By A'Lelia Bundles On April 25, 1864 - 15 months after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863 - Annie Davis sent this letter to the White House: Mr. President It is my Desire to be free. To go to see my people on the eastern shore. My mistress wont let me. You will please let me know if we are free. And what I can do. I write to you for advice. Please send me word this week. Or as soon as possible, and oblidge.
January 13, 2013
In this month marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, here's a look at slavery around the world. Match the nation with the year it abolished slavery. 1. Brazil. 2. China. 3. Haiti. 4. Iran. 5. Korea. 6. Mauritania. 7. Portugal. 8. Russia. 9. Saudi Arabia. 10. Zanzibar. a. 1723; serfs in 1861. b. 1761. c. 1804. d. 1888. e. 1894. f. 1897. g. 1906. h. 1928. i. 1962.
January 11, 2013
I WENT to Gettysburg over the weekend, embarrassingly for the first time. I say "embarrassingly" because, given the fact that I've spent a half-century in this state, you would think I'd have taken the time to visit the most sacred and famous battleground in the nation. I'd urge anyone who has yet to stand on that hallowed ground to make the trip, especially this year as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of both the Emancipation Proclamation and the battle. There is the sense, looking out over the now-quiet fields, that while America was born at Valley Forge and Bunker Hill, the crucible of Gettysburg forged its conscience.
June 21, 2012 |
The National Park Service, in partnership with the National Park Foundation's African American Experience Fund, has launched Expressions of Freedom, a nationwide artistic competition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed in 1863. The contest, open to students 13 to 18 years old, will be juried by professional artists in three categories — photography, poetry, and digital short films. The first-place winner in each category will receive a $2,500 academic scholarship; the second-place winner will receive a $1,000 academic scholarship.
March 9, 2012 |
Mitt Romney's travails in the Republican primaries and President Obama's constant sparring with Congress have helped my students appreciate how hard it is to stick to your guns if you're trying to lead either of the two main political parties. Succeeding at "big tent" politics requires a sense of timing and flexibility. Some may call the latter "flip-flopping," but only when their opponents do it. Considering historical examples, the class decided no president or presidential candidate ever played this game for higher stakes, or better, than Abraham Lincoln.