Many people assume that blacks who fought in the Civil War were all slaves that may have been forced into battle. However, a new exhibit at the African-American Museum in L.A. tells many sides of the black soldier through photographs.

The exhibit is called “African-American Military Portraits from the American Civil War." It includes photos of families and soldiers who were involved in the war. There are civil war artifacts, reproductions and displays specific to the time period and the lifestyle of the black soldiers.

There’s the story of John Sharper the Printer who was working before he joined the military in Rhode Island. Although he was highly educated and respected as a professional, he chose to leave his business and join the Army.

Another photo tells the story of a slave who saw a Union Army Naval ship pass by his owner’s plantation. He jumped in the water and swam out to the ship to start a new life as a sailor in the Civil War.

The exhibit was donated to the museum by the Liljenguist family and will remain as long as the display is free to the public. The event comes in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The exhibit will be on display at the African-American Museum in Los Angeles until January 20, 2013.


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3 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Black Fighters of the Civil War

  1. Hello,

    I just saw the Lincoln movie and was tickled to death to hear Abraham Lincoln in the opening scenes of the movie talking with two black soldiers and ones enlistment at Camp Nelson. This is BIG! at least for a history nerd like me. I can easily recall sitting in my history classes in Loveland and never hearing about black soldiers in the Civil War or even seeing a picture that would have allowed me to believe that people who looked like me were actually fighting for their own liberation rather than simply being viewed as marginal characters on the historical scene and victims totally dependent upon Lincoln and the Republicans for their emancipation. Now with the acknowledgement of Camp Nelson as a place of prominence in the struggle for freedom and liberty WE now have an obligation to seize the opportunity to present our own historical legitimacy in shaping a literary and cultural necessity in offering a different perspective in telling our history through the eyes of our ancestors. I am steadfast in doing the RIGHT thing and redefining heroism to bring additional attention to freedom’s struggle on the part of those black soldiers and refugee slaves. I am blessed to tell my family story relating to my gg-grandmother Lucy Sams Ross whose family were fugitive slaves at Camp Nelson and gg-grandfather Bryant Green(e) who enlisted at Camp Nelson as a member of Co. A of the 6th Cavalry of the United States Colored Troops.
    Thanks again for allowing me to share with you Lucy’s Story. Book III of Lucy’s story will be released early in 2013 and it’s availability will be in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the 1913 flood. The book titled Refuge from the Deluge: On Being Railroaded will also relate the story of the Randolph Freedmen in the Upper Miami Valley of Ohio. The trilogy of Lucy’s Story is coming now as ebooks.

  2. jimmyg on said:

    A picture is worth thousands of words.Our freedoms were not handed to us folks. It was a very vicious fight to the death,and 620,000 citizens paid the ultimate price to free those Americans trapped in a very cruel bondage.This happened a century and a Half ago.A very short time indeed.And we’re still fighting.WAKE UP folks this Big Dog Fight ain’t finished yet….

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