The exhibit I’m speaking of is Take Our Stand: The African American Military Experience in the Age of Jim Crow, which chronicles black military service from the Spanish American War of 1898 through the desegregation of the U.S. military 50 years later. The idea for the exhibit came when I was cataloging a portion of the John H. Motley Collection of African American military artifacts that are housed at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. The collection ranges from the founding of America through the first Gulf War, including many rare photographs and prints. Interacting with these artifacts had a powerful impact on me and I kept asking myself the same question over and over as I sifted through the collection – why did African Americans enlist in the military and fight for a country that deprived them of their civil rights?
|At the grand opening of Take Our Stand, February 2010|