Traveling Exhibition on View at the Heritage Center

publicity-image-black-soldier-for-web-siteThe Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County is hosting Emancipation and Its Legacies, a national traveling exhibition, from October 3, 2016, to October 31, 2016. The end of slavery in the United States is the most important turning point in American constitutional, political, and social history. The legacies of emancipation will be with us forever, forcing us to face who we believe we are as a people. Located at 225 West College Street, the Heritage Center is a partnership between the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, and Main Street: Murfreesboro/Rutherford County. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Emancipation and Its Legacies marks the sesquicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The exhibition is divided into five panels: Conflicting Visions of the Future of the United States: 1850–1860; War and Fugitive Slaves: 1861–1862; 1863: Emancipation; The Process of Emancipation: 1864–1865; and The Legacy of Emancipation: Civil War to Civil Rights, 1865–1964. Drawing on letters, personal accounts, images, and other documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection, each section traces the major events that led to emancipation.

The Heritage Center is sponsoring two free programs for the public in connection with the exhibition. On October 18th at 7:00 p.m., a special screening will be held of the Nashville Public Television documentary Reconstruction: A Moment in the Sun, with commentary from historian Dr. Crystal deGregory, who appears in the film. She is the founder and executive editor of HBCUstory, Inc., an advocacy initiative devoted to preserving, presenting and promoting inspiring stories of historically black colleges and universities. On October 24th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., “Emancipation on the Front Lines,” living history program about the United States Colored Troops (USCT), will take place at the Heritage Center. This come-and-go program will feature members of the 13th USCT re-enactment group based in Murfreesboro.

In addition to the free public programs in conjunction with Emancipation and Its Legacies, a lesson plan for teachers and a scavenger hunt for students are available on the Web site of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, www.tncivilwar.org.

“We are pleased to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Antoinette van Zelm, assistant director of the Center for Historic Preservation. “Through reproductions of documents, photographs, and posters, the exhibition invites visitors to learn about emancipation through the eyes of individuals. Though Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than one hundred and fifty years ago, people today can still identify with the dreams and hopes of those formerly enslaved, and the promise it held for them. We hope that this exhibition will help visitors better understand the human history and legacy of freedom and emancipation.”

Image: Black Soldier

Image credit: Unidentified black Private, Company I, 54th Massachusetts Infantry, ca. 1863. (The Gilder Lehrman Institute)

About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Our purpose is to tell the story of the struggle for freedom in the United States through exhibits and programs that focus on America’s battle to rid itself of the ugly scourge of slavery and treat all its citizens with respect and dignity.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education. The Institute has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers, and students that now operate in all fifty states, including a website that features the more than 60,000 unique historical documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection, www.gilderlehrman.org. Each year the Institute offers support and resources to tens of thousands of teachers, and through them enhances the education of more than a million students. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians.

About the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County

The Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County is a joint venture between the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Main Street:  Murfreesboro/Rutherford County, the City of Murfreesboro, and the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU.  Additional support comes from Rutherford County government and State Farm Insurance.

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