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The Coming of Freedom

Emancipation Proclamation: An Introduction

https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/emancipation-proclamation-striking-mighty-blow-slavery
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Collection Story

African Americans at Work: A Photo Essay

From enslaved workers in the 19th century to agricultural, industrial, and professional workers in the 20th and 21st centuries, African Americans have always been a vital part of the American workforce. This photo essay documents African Americans at work from the 1860s to today.
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Our American Story

From Slavery to Freedom

From inventing dry-cleaning to sugar refining to the first steamboat propeller, African Americans have been active contributors to the economic, political, and social legacies of the United States. Much of U.S. history, however, is contextualized by the system of slavery that was imposed on African Americans for 250 years—and how those born under that system and in its aftermath have crafted a culture deeply rooted in resilience and looking toward the future. The transition from slavery to freedom included many roadblocks as the country confronted the question of how resources could reach newly freed African Americans.
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Freedman's Bureau

The Freedmen’s Bureau: New Beginnings for Recently Freed African Americans

The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, with General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate Army to the Union Army. The country was in complete chaos. How could a country that was so strongly divided mend itself into one cohesive unit? What would happen to over 3.5 million enslaved persons who have now been freed?
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Juneteenth

Emancipation and Educating the Newly Freed

For the nearly four million newly freed, education was a crucial first step to becoming self-sufficient. Between 1861 and 1900, more than 90 institutions of higher education were founded for African Americans.
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Our American Story

Jarena Lee and the Early A.M.E. Church

The Second Great Awakening marked an era of transformation for America, and a new path forward for Jarena Lee. Born into a free Black family in Cape May, NJ in 1783 and later moving to Philadelphia, Lee navigated the intense religiosity and social reformation of her time to emerge as the nation’s first African American woman preacher, and the first woman to be recognized as an evangelist in the male-dominated African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
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Collection Story

Harriet Tubman: Life, Liberty and Legacy

Harriet Tubman has been known by many names—Araminta, Moses, conductor, daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt. On the bicentennial of her birth, we look beyond these names to capture not only Harriet Tubman the icon, but Harriet the woman, and Harriet’s legacy of care, activism, and bravery that influenced Black women across time.
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Black History Month

The Historical Significance of Doulas and Midwives

Today, Midwives are trained healthcare providers who operate both at birthing centers, hospitals, and private residences to care for and support healthy mothers and newborns before, after, and during childbirth. However, midwifery has existed for centuries prior to its earliest recorded practice in the United States.
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Collection Story

(Re)Creating the Narrative

Black women writers have consistently been a part of the cultural renaissances that have reshaped Black culture, nationally and globally. The work of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Maya Angelou are just a few examples of the many women writers who have contributed to the project of creation and recovery known as the Black Women’s Literary Renaissance of the 1970s.
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Game Changers

Captain Hannibal C. Carter: Businessman, Civil War Officer, Reconstruction Politician, Freedom Fighter

The life of abolitionist, politician, and war veteran Hannibal C. Carter (1835-1904) was filled with both promise and daunting challenge during a radically transformative period in American History. Despite being born during the time of slavery, his parents, George Washington Carter and Ann Hill Carter, were business owners and prominent members of a free Black community in New Albany, Indiana.
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