Black History Month
As we have just turned into March, I am a bit late on this subject.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans in February. Both Lincoln and Frederick Douglas were born in that month. The anniversary was founded on February 12, 1909, on the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
If I get a chance to go to Washington, D.C. again, I would like to see the African American Civil War Museum. I saw the Memorial, but I don’t have a picture as the evening had become too dark for taking photos.
Our trip last year started in Boston, where we saw the Robert Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial, which is opposite the State House at the border of Boston Common.
At the first federal census in 1790, Massachusetts was the only state in the Union not to have slaves. In 1863, President Lincoln let African American soldiers into the Union forces. The 54th Regiment of Massachusett’s Volunteer Infantry was the first black regiment recruited in the North. Col. Robert Gould Shaw, and many of his soldiers were killed at Fort Wagner trying to capture Charleston from the Confederates. They fought to preserve the United States and to destroy slavery. (Inspired from Black Heritage Trail and the National Historic Site Massachusetts).
A copy of the memorial is at the Washington National Gallery of Art.
Later in our journey last summer, we visited Alexandria, a historic town and seaport close to Washington, D.C.
Benjamin Banneker was a self-educated free black man from Maryland. He found the south cornerstone of Washington, D.C. in Jones Point Park in Alexandria. He recreated from memory the city plan of Washington, D.C. after French architect Pierre L’Enfant had left the new capital with his drawings as he wouldn’t compromise on his plans. Without the skills of Benjamin Banneker, Washington, D.C. would not be what it is today.
The Edmonson sisters from Alexandria are worth mentioning. Their father was a free black man, and their mother was a slave. Due to this, their fourteen children were also slaves. Emely and Mary were fifteen and thirteen years old in 1848 when they tried to escape their slave masters aboard a schooner Pearl, which left from docks in Washington, D.C. They were kept in a slave prison in Alexandria until their father was able to purchase them. Their story is much more complicated than described here. The Edmonson Sisters statue is where the “Negro Jail” in 1707 Duke Street in Alexandria used to be. The sisters were deeply connected to Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the memorial on our day trip to Alexandria.
Impressions from our visit to Alexandria last July.