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Vicksburg National Military Park Celebrates National Black History Month

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Date: February 14, 2011
Contact: Tim Kavanaugh, 601-636-0583

Vicksburg National Military Park will celebrate the observance of National Black History Month with a series of special programs and exhibits during the month of February. The national theme for 2011 is "African-Americans in the Civil War". The talks will be given this Saturday and Sunday, February 19th and 20th, throughout the day, under the canopy at the U.S.S. Cairo site in the park.

On Saturday, February 19th, Mr. Tommy Fehn will lead off with the 10:00am programs on "Relief Efforts Among the Freedmen", followed by Dr. David Slay at 11:00am, speaking on "Slavery on the Eve of the Civil War". Mr. Fehn will again speak at 1:00pm and 2:00pm on "Relief Efforts Among the Freedmen" and at 1:30pm Dr. Slay will discuss "United States Colored Troops from Mississippi".His program at 2:30pm will be "After July 4th: Race and the Building of a New Nation", and at 3:00pm he will speak on "African-American Sailors in the Civil War".

On Sunday, February 20th , Dr. Slay will give a talk at 11:00am on "Slavery on the Eve of the Civil War", at 1:00pm his topic will be "United States Colored Troops from Mississippi", at 2:00pm he will discuss "After July 4th: Race and the Building of a New Nation" and at 3:00pm his talk will be "African-American Sailors in the Civil War".

At 8:00am on Saturday, February 26th, in partnership with Shape Up Vicksburg, and in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move Outside" initiative, Vicksburg National Military Park is hosting a Black History Month walk in the park and the adjacent historic Beulah Cemetery. Programs on the United States Colored Troops and African-Americans in the Civil War will be given near the cemetery by Mr. James McNair and Dr. David Slay. Walkers should meet at the park's Visitor Center. The walk and programs are expected to finish by 10:00am. For further details please see Shape Up Vicksburg's website at

www.shapeupvicksburg.com/walkingclub.html

Admission for this event is free for those who park at the Hampton Inn and walk into the park.

Throughout the month of February the park will also be displaying exhibits honoring 1st Lieutenant Wellington G. Irving, U.S. Army Air Corps, who was killed in action over Germany in 1944, and who is buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery. Lieutenant Irving was a "Redtail" P-51 Mustang fighter pilot with the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group – the renowned Tuskegee Airmen.

In addition, the park also has wayside exhibits out on the park tour road by the Mississippi African-American Monument detailing participation of black soldiers in the Vicksburg Campaign, as well as informational waysides placed by the busts of some of the white officers who commanded the United States Colored Troops here at Vicksburg and elsewhere.

Admission to the park is $8.00 per carload for a passenger vehicle, and all applicable Vicksburg and National Park Service annual passes are accepted. The park is open from 8:00am until 5:00pm daily.

Please call Vicksburg National Military Park with any questions about entrance fees or programs at (601) 636-0583.

We hope you will join us in observing Black History Month, and take this opportunity to learn more about African-American history during the Civil War, and the important part that Vicksburg played in that history.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

President Abraham Lincoln, in speaking of Vicksburg's importance, is reputed to have stated early during the Civil War, "See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key, the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket."