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CHS to Run Exhibit on Blacks and the Struggle for Citizenship


The Connecticut Historical Society will run an exhibit that highlights 50 years of struggle for citizenship by black Americans.

The exhibit, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, is a new traveling show from the New York Historical Society that explores African Americans’ struggle for full citizenship and equal rights. Connecticut will be the first stop on a national tour.

The exhibit, which will run from March 27 to Sept. 14,  focuses on the transformative 50 years after the Civil War, using art, artifacts, photographs, silent films and other types of media to tell the story of reconstruction, black advancement and the backlash that was manifested in segregationist “Jim Crow” laws.

The traveling exhibit will also include details and documentation on lynchings and other heinous crimes and acts of terrorism against black Americans during this time.

The showcase will end after World War I, when more than 350, 000 African American men fought.

In addition to the original exhibit, the CHS also included Connecticut-themed items to the exhibit, providing local context to the national story.

Objects that will be on display include a letter from Frederick Douglass written in 1863 to Edwin M. Stanton, which recommends George T. Downin for Bridgade Quarter Master of Colored Troops. Also on display will be a Poplin dress belonging to Rebecca Primus, circa 1868. Rebecca Primus was born in 1836 in Hartford to a socially prominent black family. She completed high school and became and educator. During the early years of Reconstruction, Primus moved south to Royal Oak, Maryland to establish and teach at a school for previously enslaved African Americans under the sponsorship of the Hartford Freedman’s Aid Society.

The lives of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells and W. E. B. DuBois are also explored along with many lesser-known but impactful historical figures who each contributed positively to America’s story.

For more information about the exhibit, visit, chs.org.

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