After the Civil War, African American women were promised a new life of freedom with the same rights provided to other American citizens; unfortunately few of those promises came true.
African American Women in Antebellum America
Amid the harshness of slavery, American women of African descent managed to preserve the culture of their ancestry and articulate their struggles. Black female poets and writers emerged throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Many prominent free black women in the North were active in the Abolitionist Movement.
Enslaved women [Read More ...]
Wives Fought to Keep Families Together
Image: Unidentified African American soldier in Union Uniform with his wife in dress and hat and two daughters in matching coats and hats.
As the news of the attack on Fort Sumter spread, free black men hurried to enlist in the Union Army, but a 1792 Federal law barred African Americans from bearing arms [Read More ...]
African American Nurses in the Civil War
Nursing was not a woman's job before the Civil War, but by 1865, there were over 3,000 nurses serving the Union and Confederacy. In the North, most women nurses worked in military hospitals.
Image: Black nurses with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry
The 13th Mass fought in numerous battles, from the Shenandoah Valley [Read More ...]
Leader in the Integration of Philadelphia Streetcars
An undertaker's daughter, Caroline Le Count outscored all the boys in her class, struck up a correspondence with a Union army general, became only the second black woman named principal of a Philadelphia public school, and put her body on the line in the battle to integrate the streetcars. Soon she was noticed [Read More ...]
The U.S. Government and the Sea Island Slaves
In August 1861, at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Union General Benjamin Butler declared that the slaves who escaped and came into his lines for protection were contraband of war, a term commonly used thereafter to describe this new status of slaves, which meant that the Army would not return escaped [Read More ...]