On Sunday, February 6, 2011, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military
Park, in association with Black History Month, will be presenting “African
Americans and the Civil War.” This one hour interpretive program will
begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center. Join a
Park Ranger as he follows the plight of both freed and enslaved blacks in
the period leading up to and into the Civil War.
The road to emancipation was never a straight journey. While the founders
of the fledgling country proclaimed “……..that all men are created equal”,
this foundation for the newly formed union was cracked and unstable from
the moment the historic document was signed. While slavery had been
abolished in eight of the original thirteen states of the Union by 1804,
the emancipation of all African-Americans was far from being complete.
The invention of the cotton gin in the 1790’s was the death knell to total
emancipation in the South. Costs for the laborious nature of cotton
production and harvesting, along with other labor-intensive crops, such as
rice, tobacco, indigo and sugar, solidified the Southern agricultural need
to continue the practice of slavery.
Numerous activities and resolutions were undertaken by the military and
civilians – both black and white – which led to the use of black troops on
battlefields and in naval engagements during their road to emancipation.
For more information about programs at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga
National Military Park, contact the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center
at (706) 866-9241, the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center at (423)
821-7786, or visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/chch.