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August 2022

The Sinclairs of Sharpsburg: In Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War

August 5, 2022 @ 7:00 pm
Sharpsburgh Museum of History, 106 E Main St
Sharpsburg, Maryland 21782 United States
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19th-century photograph of Jane Sinclair, an elderly black woman

The Sinclairs of Sharpsburg were an African American family whose descendants included the beloved Virginia Cook and other prominent local citizens. In this talk, I'll explore their nineteenth-century history, starting in slavery and showing how most of them became free before the Civil War. I'll tell the story of Jane Sinclair, whose photograph and belongings are now in the collections of the Sharpsburgh Museum of History, and who spent the Civil War at Mount Airy, home of the Stephen P.…

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Rohrbach Inn Summer Series: An African American Family at the Battle of South Mountain

August 10, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jacob Rohrbach Inn, 138 W. Main Street
Sharpsburg, Maryland 21782
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Very few firsthand accounts survive of African American experiences during the Civil War in western Maryland. One of them comes from the family of Rev. Daniel Ridout, an A.M.E. circuit preacher for Frederick and Washington Counties. Living in Hancock at the beginning of the war, and then outside Burkittsville, the Ridouts had many adventures before the Battle of South Mountain, part of which happened literally in their front yard. This talk will look at how the Ridout family--mother, father, and…

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September 2022

Black Antietam Book Talk & Signing

September 8, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sharpsburg Library, 106 E Main St
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 United States
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Black Antietam book cover

Black Antietam book talk and signing: How did African Americans experience the Battle of Antietam? Although the battle was a turning point in black history—leading to the Emancipation Proclamation—its affect on local African Americans has rarely been studied. This talk will explore stories of black eyewitnesses, both enslaved and free, to the terrible events of September 17, 1862. I'll share highlights from my new book, Black Antietam: African Americans and the Civil War in Sharpsburg. Copies of the book will…

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October 2022

From Slavery to Freedom in Washington County

October 1, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

In conjunction with a visiting exhibition at the Museum, I'll discuss how Joseph Holston’s art reflects and exposes the history of Washington County. Sharing true stories of bondage, resistance, and journeys to freedom, we'll explore the parallels between Holston’s art and locally lived experience.

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Black Eyewitnesses of the Battle of Antietam

October 15, 2022 @ 11:30 am - 3:30 pm
Newcomer Farm, 18422 Shepherdstown Pike
Keedysville, MD 21756 United States
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This free, family-friendly event will take place on the porch of the historic Newcomer House, on Antietam National Battlefield. I'll be talking about how African Americans, both enslaved and free, experienced the Battle of Antietam. I'll focus on people who were living at places around the battlefield that visitors can stop by today. The talk will be given twice, once at 11:30 a.m. and again at 2:00 p.m. If you bring your own copy of my book Black Antietam: African Americans…

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November 2022

McCauley Lecture: Black Men in the Union Army at Antietam

November 7, 2022 @ 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Community Room, Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Branch, Washington County Free Library, 100 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740, 100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740 United States
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In 1862, before the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union Army did not yet enlist black men as soldiers. But black men served in noncombatant roles throughout the military: as laborers, mule drivers, horse handlers, cooks, and servants. Many of them were free men from the North, but many were escaping from slavery in the South. This talk will tell the stories of some of these men who were present in units that fought at Antietam, including a few who came from…

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