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African American Sites in the Digital Collections

1861-1877: Civil War and Reconstruction

Image: see caption below
[Frederick Douglass, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left].
Color lithograph.
[between 1870 and 1900].
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Library of Congress.

Highlights

Abraham Lincoln's election led to secession and secession to war. When the Union soldiers entered the South, thousands of African Americans fled from their owners to Union camps. Many "contrabands" greatly aided the war effort with their labor.

After Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which was effective on January 1, 1863, black soldiers were officially allowed to participate in the war. Both blacks and whites were outspoken about questions of race, civil rights, and full equality for the newly-freed population during the Civil War era.

The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 freed African Americans in rebel states, and after the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment emancipated all U.S. slaves wherever they were. As a result, the mass of Southern blacks now faced the difficulty Northern blacks had confronted--that of a free people surrounded by many hostile whites.

Online Exhibitions

The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship

African American Mosaic

People, Places and Events

  1. Martin Robinson Delany (1812-1885): Abolitionist, author, editor, physician, and Civil War veteran
    - Martin Robinson Delany w/Frederick Douglass entry (SEARCH FOR "Delany" on this page).

  2. Frederick Douglass (1817-1895): Consultant to President Abraham Lincoln, advocating that former slaves be armed for the North and that the war be made a direct confrontation against slavery.
    - Frederick Douglass: Online Resources (Web Guide)
    - Frederick Douglass Papers
    - Frederick Douglass (An Essay)
    - Frederick Douglass (America's Library Web site)

  3. Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906): Achieved international acclaim as an author, best friend of Orville Wright of the Wright Brothers who together, published a newspaper, The Dayton Tattler
    - Paul Laurence Dunbar: Online Resources (Web Guide)
    -
    Paul Laurence Dunbar (Today in History: June 27)
    - Paul Laurence Dunbar Was Born June 27, 1872 (America's Library Web site)

  4. Fisk School (1866): Fisk University, incorporated as such on August 22, 1867
    - Fisk School/University (SCROLL TO SECOND ENTRY ON PAGE)
    - First classes convened on January 9, 1866

  5. Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Preacher, abolitionist, and women's rights advocate
    - Sojourner Truth: Online Resources (Web Guide)
    - Sojourner Truth (SCROLL TO SECOND ENTRY ON PAGE)

  6. Howard University (1866): A seminary and later as a liberal arts college was founded November 20, 1866
    - Howard University Founded (Today in History)
    - First students entered in May 1867

  7. James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938): Authored the lyrics of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing"
    - James Weldon Johnson (SCROLL TO SECOND ENTRY ON PAGE)
    - James Weldon Johnson (America's Library Web site)

  8. Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954): First president of the National Association of Colored Women
    - Mary Church Terrell (Today in History, September 23)
    - Mary Church Terrell (America's Library Web site)
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  December 5, 2013
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