African Americans in the Civil War Period : An practium exhibit by Erin Upshaw, Spring 2015

The Civil War was a tumultuous time in our nation's history. While there were many factors at play that brought this conflict to a head, there is one that is attributed as being the breaking point: slavery. Slavery has been a part of America since its foundation, and can be traced as far back as early colonial America. The first documented case of slavery in the united states was in Jamestown in Virginia, when 19 Africans were brought to the colony by Dutch traders who had seized the slaves from a captured Spanish ship in 1619. The international slave trade was made illegal in the early eighteen hundreds, but the domestic slave trade was a booming business until 1861, when the Civil War began and the fight for freedom took a front seat in the priorities of half the nation. At the end of the war in 1865, the thirteenth amendment was ratified and slavery made illegal. The lithographs in this collection come from those four years between the start of the Civil War in 1861 and the end of the war in 1865. As a result, the depictions of African Americans may be offensive, and are a reflection of the time period and not the opinions of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum of Lincoln Memorial University. Despite their nature, these images are important to the history of the United States, and depict a past we never want to return to and can continue to learn from even today.

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African Americans in the Civil War Period