Historian to give talk on history of black troops in Civil War

Frank Smith (Photo courtesy of Tryon Palace)

NEW BERN, Craven County - Historian Frank Smith is giving a talk on the history of black troops in the Civil War Thursday night as part of the Tryon Palace's ongoing African-American lecture series.

The free lecture starts at 7 p.m. inside Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center.

Smith was instrumental in establishing a national memorial for African-American troops, overseeing the dedication of the African American Civil War memorial in July 1998 in Washington D.C.

Though some African-American units were raised and participated in the war from the outset, President Abraham Lincoln did not authorize the use of black soldiers in combat until 1863, following the Emancipation Proclamation. The Bureau of Colored Troops was established by the United States War Department in May, 1863, and was responsible for recruiting African-American soldiers to fight. About 175 regiments composed of 178,000 African-American troops served the Union in the final two years of the Civil War.

The Tryon Palace African American Lecture Series offers a free, new program on the third Thursday of each month.

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