“Gateway to Freedom” Exhibit Opens at Bessie Smith Cultural Center

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Date: February 9, 2016
Contact: Kim Coons, 423-752-5213 x139

Fort Oglethorpe, GA:In partnership with the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and the Mary Walker Historical and Education Foundation, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park invites the public to view "Gateway to Freedom," an exhibit focusing on African American involvement in the Civil War, including local United States Colored Troops stationed in Chattanooga and their lasting legacy after the guns of war fell silent. This exhibit will be on display from February 1 –April 30, 2016, in the Chattanooga African American Museum located at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. The museum is open Monday –Friday, 10 am –5 pm. Admission is $7 per adult, $5 per student and seniors with ID,$3 per child, ages 6-12, and Free of Charge for children ages 5 and under. Group rates (10 or more) are also available. Please call the Bessie Smith Cultural Center at 423-266-8658 for additional information.

The Bessie Smith Cultural Center will also host three educational programs that tie into the exhibit.These programs will be facilitated by park rangers from Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and are free and open to the public.

Saturday, February 27 at 2 pm

For Justice and Equality: A Chickamauga Veteran's Crusade

A veteran of the Battle of Chickamauga, Albion Tourgee continued to lead the fight for equality after his wartime service. In fact, he crusaded against inequality in the South by representing Homer Plessy in one of the most landmark cases in United States history.

Saturday, March 12 at 11 am

A World Turned Upside Down: The United States Colored Troops and Camp Contraband in Chattanooga

After the Union Army captured Chattanooga in the fall of 1863, the city became a destination for freedom-hungry African Americans throughout East Tennessee and North Georgia. By the end of the war, armed African American soldiers patrolled the streets and bridges of Chattanooga and black laborers transformed the city into a bustling hub primed for postwar growth during Reconstruction.

Saturday, April 30 at 11 am

Your Old Father Abe Lincoln is Dead and Damned: The Memphis Riots of 1866

Though the Civil War ended a year previous, tensions in the early days of Reconstruction ran high and finally boiled over in the streets of Memphis on May 1, 1866.The following days left many wondering if the war was truly over and if so, what had it truly accomplished.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and the Mary Walker Historical and Education Foundation hope to see you at "Gateway to Freedom."


Last updated: February 9, 2016

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