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“We Fight for Our Rights” Temporary Exhibit
May 31, 2021 @ 9:00 am - November 30, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
This new exhibit tells the story of the both the enslaved and free African-Americans who fought for freedom during the American Civil War and their impact on later contributions through the 20th century. The exhibit focuses on the USCT or United States Colored Troops who were formerly enslaved and free African-Americans who joined the Union Army in their fight to end slavery and preserve the Union. It is estimated that approximately 180,000 men rose to join the fight in the ranks of the USCT. Their numbers amounted to ten percent of the Union Army which formed at least 166 regiments that would fight in 450 battle engagements. The ultimate Union victory paved the way for three amendments to the US Constitution. The 13th that abolished slavery, the 14th gave African-Americans equal protection under the law, and the 15th gave African-American men the right to vote.
The exhibit continues the African-American military post-war story by sharing the contributions and struggles of the Buffalo Soldiers of the Plains Wars, the Harlem Hellfighters of World War I and the Tuskegee Airmen who took to the skies during World War II in a segregated United States military. Desegregation of the United States Armed Forces came in the form of Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948. This opened further opportunities leading to females in expanded military service roles in the 1970s. A combination of artifacts, images and prints will invite visitors to follow the road to freedom and beyond.
This special exhibit will be open through November of 2021 and included with regular daily admission.