The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources stated in a Jan. 29 press release the exhibit is part of the 150th anniversary commemoration of the end of the Civil War and also in recognition of Black History Month. In addition to the panels, the artifacts of U.S. Colored Troops Pvt. Luke Martin will be displayed. Pvt. Martin enlisted in the 1st N.C. Colored Infantry in May 1863 as soon as persons of color could legally enlist in the Union Army. Pvt. Martin’s son, the late Luke P. Martin, Jr., loaned his father’s 1861 Springfield rifle and a captured Confederate officer’s sword for the exhibit.
Earl Ijames, curator of African-American History at the N.C. Museum of History, said freedom was not just secured with the signing of a proclamation, but was instead achieved through a lengthy process.
“‘Freedom for All’ conveys how securing freedom was more of a process than a single act or proclamation, and the exhibit highlights North Carolina’s unique role in that process,” Ijames stated.
The exhibit focuses on the status of North Carolina before the Civil War, events leading up to Lincoln’s issuance of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and consequences of the document in the state and nation. The exhibit also examines differences between the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the final Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment.
The “Freedom for All” traveling exhibit and the “Freedom Coming, Freedom for All” exhibition at the N.C. Museum of History are joint projects of the N.C. Museum of History and the N.C. Freedom Monument Project. The exhibit is traveling to state history museums, historic sites, libraries and other academic and cultural venues through Aug. 10.