Freedom Rising: The 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and African American Military Service in the Civil War - Public Symposium
May 2, 2013 - 6:00pm to May 4, 2013 - 8:00pm

Freedom Rising: 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and African American Military Service 

  • 5/2, 6:00 PM: African Meeting House, 46 Joy Street, Boston
  • 5/3, 9:00 AM: Radcliffe Gymnasium, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge
  • 5/4, 5:00 PM: Tremont Temple Baptist Church, 88 Tremont Street, Boston

The second founding of the United States took place in the midst of the great sacrifice and destruction of the American Civil War. Before the war, slavery was protected by the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that no African American possessed any right that white men were bound to respect. During the war, blacks served in the armed forces with distinction, making a Union victory possible. After the war, slavery was extinguished and black men gained the right to vote—key to full citizenship—and many won election to state legislatures in the North and South and to both houses of Congress. The key document of this transformation is the Emancipation Proclamation.

Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, office of President Drew Faust, the Houghton Library, the Radcliffe Institute, and the Departments of African and African American Studies and American Civilization are joining with the National Park Service’s Boston National Historical Park, Boston African American National Historic Site and with the Museum of African American History and the Underground Railway Theater to celebrate the impact of the Proclamation and the recruitment of black soldiers in a hemispheric-wide context. Three-day event:

May 2, Thursday evening, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner will open symposium with public address at the restored African Meeting House.

May 3, Friday, symposium to focus on the Emancipation Proclamation and its hemispheric impact, recruitment of black troops, black communities, black women, and legacy in art

May 4, Saturday, Roots of Liberty: The Haitian Revolution and the American Civil War. Multi-role performance, organized by the Underground Railway Theater, exploring the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the antislavery movement and the Civil War.

Among current plans are also concerts and choral performances and exhibitions at Harvard University’s Houghton Library and at the Museum of African American History. To join in the celebration or for more information contact Donald Yacovone, Research Manager, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University.





We also draw your attention to the “Emancipation@150” series hosted by Harvard’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. This series of four talks will commence on March 27 with Alan Gilbert (University of Denver), and continue in April with James Oakes (CUNY) on April 16th, Thavolia Glymph (Duke) on April 22nd, and Michael Ralph (NYU) on April 30th. All at 4pm in the Robinson Hall Basement Conference Room. More information at

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