RALEIGH, N.C. – The Civil War savaged lives yet secured the future of generations in North Carolina and the rest of the nation, and altered the course of American history. The injustices faced by African Americans were some of the most significant factors leading to the American Civil War (1861-1865). The fight for liberation is just one of many moving features of the “Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory: Civil War Sesquicentennial Photography Exhibit,” (www.nccivilwar150.com) which will visit the Wilson County Public Library in Wilson and the Alleghany County Public Library in Sparta from May 2-28.
“The Civil War was the first war widely covered with photography,” explains Deputy Secretary Dr. Jeffrey Crow of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. “The Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory exhibit provides images of historic figures, artifacts, and documents that brought the reality of the war from the battlefront to the home front, then and now.”
The exhibit will commemorate the bravery and resiliency of North Carolinians throughout the Civil War with stimulating images gathered from the State Archives (www.archives.ncdcr.gov), the N.C. Museum of History (www.ncmuseumofhistory.org), and State Historic Sites (www.nchistoricsites.org). A total of 24 images will be displayed by the N.C. Department of Culture Resources (www.ncculture.com) in 50 libraries throughout the state from April 2011 through May 2013. A notebook will accompany the exhibit with further information and also seeking viewer comments.
The collection depicts African Americans, women and militiamen, including images of artifacts and official documents.
One picture depicts an African American Union soldier in the U.S. Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.) which had control of the area around Wilson and Wayne counties after the war. More than 5,000 North Carolina blacks are documented as having served in the U.S.C.T. for the Union Army and Navy. Despite resentment from Confederates, African Americans dutifully served, paving their way to freedom.
Another image shows a mourning ring crafted by a North Carolina Confederate soldier. The ring, made out of a type of easily-carved rubber called guttapercha, contains mother-of-pearl and gold inlay. Mourning rings were used to buy various items in prison like socks and were also fashionably worn by Southern women as a symbol for loved ones fighting or fallen in the war.
The statewide tour will visit various regions presenting the importance of North Carolinians in the Civil War and educating viewers of each area’s participation and commitment during this tumultuous time.
For information on the exhibit call the Wilson County Public Library (252) 237-5355 or the Alleghany County Public Library at (336) 372-5573. For tour information contact the Department of Cultural Resources (919) 807-7389.
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available 24/7 at www.ncculture.com.
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