Monday, July 18, 2016

History nuggets …

"Manumission Monday." At the recent Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Conference, held in Cambridge., Md., two researchers for the Maryland State Archives gave a presentation about their work inventorying historic manumission (legal freedom) documents and related Certificates of Freedom for individual slaves. While I was down the hall at another talk, my wife attended that session and was impressed by the two young historians' methods and discoveries. Every Monday, one of them, Allison Seyler, posts a fresh manumission case on the Archive's Instagram account. To get a taste of their important work, go to and type in #manumissionmonday.  Here's the direct link

"The Black Soldier: Hero to his People."
 That's the heading on a sample page of a children's book I came across three weeks ago. It was during a getaway to the lovely Hudson Valley. First stop on the trip was the West Point Museum, where a painting is displayed of a famous uphill charge by black troops at the Battle of Petersburg. Because six of the hometown soldiers I'm researching were part of that very charge, I wanted to examine the original canvas up-close. And then, at the gift shop, I noticed another wonderful thing: Black Soldiers in the Civil War--a children's coloring book! Seems the old U.S. Colored Troops have "arrived" after all these years, honored now in our Military Academy's official museum and even in the pantheon of coloring books. Below (and as an attachment) is that sample page I mentioned. Have kids in your life? You can order the coloring book online from Bellerophon Books. (You can also see the Petersburg battle painting at my author website,

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