Emancipating the Slaves, William D.T. Travis
African Americans in the Civil War

"Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pockets, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States." Frederick Douglass

Approximately 180,000 African Americans comprising 163 units served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and many more African Americans served in the Union Navy. Both free African Americans and runaway slaves joined the fight. Learn more about this history, as well as the Underground Railroad, and the African American Civil War Memorial.

Online Resources

The NPS has adopted "From the Civil War to Civil Rights" as a theme of the 150th commemoration of the Civil War. In order to better understand the attitudes of the African American community towards the Civil War and to help us develop interpretive materials, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park partnered with Kennesaw State University's Center for the Study of the Civil War Ear to carry out a series of focus group meetings. This document is the report on our findings.
This study from National Park Service highlights West and Central African cultural contributions to the nation’s built environment that have been documented and recognized in the cultural resources programs of the National Park Service (NPS). This guide to Africanisms forms part of the larger effort of NPS and its partners to increase awareness of the role of various cultural groups in shaping the American landscape.
This is a self-paced learning resource or course jointly sponsored by the Park Ethnography Program and the Cultural Resources Stewardship Careers Program. This course is primarily designed to  provide National Park Service personnel in cultural resource management, interpretation, and planning with the knowledge, understanding, awareness, and appreciation of African American heritage to enhance their ability to manage and interpret resources, and to better provide for public enjoyment and positive visitor experiences of parks. This course is also available to the public.
In the four years of the American Civil War, the United States began to redeem itself from the 250-year-long tragedy of slavery. On the battlefields of that war, and in the buildings, artifacts, documents, and stories they contain, four million African Americans won their freedom. These sites, many of which have been preserved by the National Park Service, eloquently testify to the nation’s “rebirth of freedom.”

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