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

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

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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

2021 Black History Basic Training, Week 3

We have come to a close of the third week of Black History Month 2021. This year, the Say it Loud! Employee Affinity Group is hosting a Black History Basic Training (inspired by GirlTrek campaigns from the past year), where we highlight individuals, organizations and events that made significant contributions to the African American experience. This week, … Continue reading 2021 Black History Basic Training, Week 3

2021 Black History Basic Training, Week 2

We have come to a close of the second week of Black History Month 2021. This year, the Say it Loud! Employee Affinity Group is hosting a Black History Basic Training (inspired by GirlTrek campaigns from the past year), where we highlight individuals, organizations and events that made significant contributions to the African American experience. This week, … Continue reading 2021 Black History Basic Training, Week 2

2021 Black History Basic Training, Week 1

Ase. We have come to a close of the first week of Black History Month 2021. This year, the Say it Loud! Employee Affinity Group is hosting a Black History Basic Training (inspired by GirlTrek campaigns from the past year), where we highlight individuals, organizations and events that made significant contributions to the African American … Continue reading 2021 Black History Basic Training, Week 1

A Rare Find: Passport Applications of Free Blacks

Today's post was written by Rebecca Sharp, Archives Specialist at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Several years ago, I received a telephone call from a researcher that turned out to be an extremely intriguing and challenging question.  The researcher wanted to know if there might be additional documentation relating to the passport application of … Continue reading A Rare Find: Passport Applications of Free Blacks

A Phenomenon Called “Roots,” 1977

Today’s blog was written by Alan Walker, Archivist at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland From the moment our search room doors opened to the public in late 1936, family history was a big draw for the public. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1938, nearly one quarter of the admission cards issued went to "students … Continue reading A Phenomenon Called “Roots,” 1977

Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to Military

Happy Black History Month! This year the Rediscovering Black History blog at the National Archives would like to highlight select posts from the past. This public blog was created to inform researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in records related to African-American history at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries on the vast amount of … Continue reading Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to Military