Reenactment of African American Women During the Civil War Scheduled as Part of National Women’s History Month Celebration in Columbia

A reenactment of African American women during the Civil War era will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 16, at the South Carolina Archives and History Center at 8301 Parklane Road in Columbia.

The reenactment will be performed by Female Reenactors of Distinction (FREED,) an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C., who use drama and storytelling to bring to life untold stories of struggle, strength and success.

Their performance will highlight six distinctive voices and characters of the period, including:

  • Rebecca Lee Davis Crumpler (1831 – 1895), the first African American Doctress of Medicine. A physician in Freedmen’s Camps, Dr. Crumpler cared for slaves freed during the Civil War, and she published a book about women’s health, and prenatal care.
  • Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1824 – 1876), dubbed the Black Swan, this freed slave learned the art of classical singing. Greenfield became very popular in Great Britain and, in 1854, she sang for Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace.
  • Hallie Quinn Brown (1850–1949), an abolitionist and powerful orator for the causes of temperance and women’s suffrage, her work as an activist in the Civil War era gave voice to the many social ills of the time. She was also an educator who served as Dean of Allen University in Columbia as well as and Dean of Women at Tuskegee Institute. Brown was even presented to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle as a guest and notable elocutionist.
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825 – 1911), an African-American abolitionist who played an important role in helping slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. Harper wrote frequently for anti-slavery newspapers, earning her a reputation as the mother of African American journalism.
  • Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897), author of Incident in the Life of A Slave Girl, which was written in 1861. The publication is among the most important slave narratives written by an African-American woman. The book details her abuse, escape, and extreme sacrifice to ensure her children’s safety. After the war, Jacobs joined the American Equal Rights Association and promoted education for freedmen.
  • Charlotte Scott (1803-1891), The first memorial to commemorate President Abraham Lincoln was initiated by Scott, an ex-slave from Lynchburg, Va. When the news arrived that President Lincoln had been assassinated, Scott exclaimed to her employers, “Now the best friend to colored people is dead; we colored people ought to raise a monument to his memory!” Scott’s first donation of $5 was the catalyst for the Freedom’s Memorial (Emancipation Memorial) in Washington, DC.

There will also be a tribute called The Unknown Women for the nameless and faceless masses of women who endured slavery.

The performance is sponsored by the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission to celebrate Women’s History Month, and is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The program is free, but registration is required. Click here to register.

For more information, contact Jannie Harriot at [email protected] or 843-639-2455.

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