Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Take Our Stand Comes To Fredericksburg

For those of you who live in the Fredericksburg area, I highly recommend seeing the new traveling exhibit that will be opening at the Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center. I must admit that I’m a bit biased since the exhibit was my idea and I wrote the first draft of the script, but…I digress.

 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
 Trying to answer this question led me to many painful incidents, but also led me to many inspiring stories. So if you want to know what motivated the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th & 10th Cavalry, the Harlem Hell Fighters, and the Tuskegee Airmen (to name a few) be sure to check this exhibit out before it moves on to its next stop. The exhibit will run at the FAMCC from April 15 thru August 15, 2011.

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