“Emancipation introduced into national memory a new people and a new history.”
– Kirk Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War and Monument in 19th-Century America
For African Americans’ entire history in the United States up to 1865, they had been deprived of the rights to liberty, property, education, and full citizenship. Eager to seize these rights, communities of freedpeople in the capital region prioritized education and pursued personal and community uplift in the decades after the Civil War. Through public commemorations of John Brown and Abraham Lincoln, they also took an active role in the redefinition of American identity to include African American perspectives.
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Last updated: January 26, 2017