African American Seamen of the Antebellum Era: Using Seamen’s Protection Certificates to Document Early Black Mariners

During the Civil War, approximately 17,000 men of African heritage served in the Union Navy.  As noted by historian Joseph P. Reidy, this number represented approximately 20 percent of the enlisted men in the U.S. Navy at that time, which was “nearly double the proportion of black soldiers who served in the U.S. Army during … Continue reading African American Seamen of the Antebellum Era: Using Seamen’s Protection Certificates to Document Early Black Mariners

certificate listing couple and their child

Records of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Reconstruction of Black Families

Marriage of a colored soldier at Vicksburg by Chaplain Warren of the Freedmen's Bureau (Library of Congress) During the Reconstruction period of U.S. history (1865-1877), many people who had previously been enslaved tried to reunite with family members from whom they had been separated by their enslavers. This collective search can be seen as another … Continue reading Records of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Reconstruction of Black Families

From the Battlefield to the World’s Stage: A Tribute to General Colin L. Powell

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” ~Colin Powell On October 18, 2021, four-star general, diplomat, and statesman Colin L. Powell passed away at the age of 84, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center … Continue reading From the Battlefield to the World’s Stage: A Tribute to General Colin L. Powell

exterior view of church showing front steps and stained glass windows on side

Places of Worship as Epicenters for Change: Highlights from the National Register of Historic Places

Today’s post was written by Alicia Henneberry, Archives Specialist at the National Archives at College Park, MD. The United States is an eclectic patchwork of diverse faiths and religious beliefs that manifest physically in a community of believers and the places of worship in which they gather. Throughout history, some of these places of worship … Continue reading Places of Worship as Epicenters for Change: Highlights from the National Register of Historic Places

facade of a 2 story brick Georgian brick building

Preserving a Community’s Legacy: The History of The Gregory School

Today's post was written collaboratively by staff from The African American Library at the Gregory School and the National Archives: Miguell Caesar, Lead Archivist/Manager; Sheena Wilson, Archivist/Assistant Manager (both at the Gregory School); Damani Davis, Archivist/Subject Matter Expert of Records Related to the African American Experience; Billy R. Glasco, Jr., Archivist at The Jimmy Carter Presidential … Continue reading Preserving a Community’s Legacy: The History of The Gregory School

headshot of Ben Reeves wearing a cowboy hat and collared shirt, front and profile

Love and Death on the Frontier – Finding Ben Reeves at the National Archives

Today's post was written by Holly Rivet, archival technician at the National Archives in St. Louis. Mugshot of Ben Reeves from his Inmate Case File from Leavenworth Penitentiary (NAID 7861497, image 54) In the early afternoon of June 7, 1902, a young Ben Reeves paid a visit to his estranged wife, Castella Brown, at her … Continue reading Love and Death on the Frontier – Finding Ben Reeves at the National Archives

front view of 1 story school bldg w/bell on top

Westerly Winds and Big Skies, Finding Colonel Allen Allensworth at the National Archives

Today's post was written by Holly Rivet, archival technician at the National Archives in St. Louis. Allen Allensworth, nd (from findagrave) Allensworth, California was the first city to be established as an African American enclave in California.  It was officially founded on August 3, 1908 by Colonel Allen Allensworth, Chaplain to the 24th Infantry, a … Continue reading Westerly Winds and Big Skies, Finding Colonel Allen Allensworth at the National Archives

collage of various letterhead

Emmett J. Scott and Community Insights in the OPFs

Today’s post is by Cara Moore Lebonick, Archives Reference Specialist at the National Archives at St. Louis. Personnel records are lauded for their genealogical richness. They typically contain full names, maiden names, birthdates, death dates, next of kin, and even sometimes relevant children’s information, medical data, and photographs. The records offer insight into the working … Continue reading Emmett J. Scott and Community Insights in the OPFs

Portal Spotlight: Migrations and the Black Experience

Today's post was written by Netisha Currie, archives specialist at the National Archives at College Park. The latest Black History portal at the National Archives delves into a huge part of the American experience - the freedom of movement. Considering many people of African descent were forcibly brought to and moved throughout the United States, … Continue reading Portal Spotlight: Migrations and the Black Experience

see quoted text

Juneteenth: The Celebration of a New Freedom in America

Today's post was written by Billy R. Glasco, Jr., archivist at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. To understand Juneteenth’s significance, one must understand how geography, military occupation, timing, and the resilience of a proud people solidified June 19, 1865 as the date that symbolizes freedom for African Americans. The National Archives is the … Continue reading Juneteenth: The Celebration of a New Freedom in America