African American Men in the Union Medical Service

Last Updated by Jane Schultz on

In this blog post, Jane Schultz, Ph.D., gives some background to Samuel Diggs' character by examining the real-life African American men who practiced medicine as surgeons during the Civil War.

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Code-switching and Fluidity as a Strategy for Survival

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the coping mechanisms African American characters must employ to survive plot twists and power struggles in Mercy Street.

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Roots of Resistance

Last Updated by Kenyatta D. Berry on

Genealogist Kenyatta D. Berry discusses slave resistance in the Colonies and Caribbean, and how education and resistance later went hand-in-hand.

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Making a Change: Educating Former Slaves

Last Updated by Anya Jabour on

Anya Jabour, Ph.D., explains that even though they were denied education in slavery, African Americans were determined to have it in freedom.

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Education: The Foundation of Freedom

Last Updated by Kenyatta D. Berry on

Genealogist Kenyatta D. Berry discusses how education for newly freed African American families was a gateway to a better life.

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African American Firsts in Medicine: Setting the Standard for Future Generations

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the history of the first African American doctors to practice in the United States.

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'The Freedmen’s Cause': African American Abolitionists

Last Updated by Anya Jabour on

Anya Jabour, Ph.D., explores the courage and perseverance of Harriet Jacobs.

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Charlotte Jenkins and Speaking Truth to Power

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the parallels between Charlotte Jenkins and real life abolitionists who challenged racism, slavery and the roles of women.

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Moses of Her People: Harriet Tubman and Runaway Slaves

Last Updated by Kenyatta D. Berry on

Genealogist Kenyatta D. Berry discusses the history of Harriet Tubman and how Charlotte Jenkins channels her strength in Mercy Street.

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Reconstructing the Nation’s Memory of the Civil War

Posted by Jim Downs on

Jim Downs is an associate professor of history at Connecticut College. In this blog post, Downs details the true history of the Reconstruction period.

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Frederick Douglass, American Citizen

Last Updated by Jane Schultz on

Jane E. Schultz, Ph.D., explores the rise of Frederick Douglass from slave to author, abolitionist, suffragist, and citizen.

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Is Anybody Looking? Runaway Slaves and the Refugee Crisis in Civil War America

Last Updated by Anya Jabour on

Anya Jabour, Ph.D., explains how most contraband camps were dismal if not downright dangerous places, and how Union authorities were unprepared for the influx of refugees—particularly those who could not be recruited into the ranks of the Union Army. From Fulton, Missouri, one Union captain wrote to his senior officer: “What are we to do with the women and children?”

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The Road was Rugged and Full of Thorns: Learning to Live Free

Posted by Audrey Davis on

Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the transitions newly freed slaves had to make, including education, finding work, discovering their new rights, and learning to maneuver within society.

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Contraband: The Ownership and Division of Human Beings

Posted by Kenyatta D. Berry on

Genealogist Kenyatta D. Berry looks at how the term "Contraband" came to be, and the hardship, and sometimes impossibility, of marriage during slavery.

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Charlotte Jenkins is the Metaphorical Balm in Gilead

Last Updated by Audrey Davis on

Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, discusses the significance of a new character in Season 2, Charlotte Jenkins, based off of the historic figure Harriet Jacobs.

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