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Andersonville National Historic Site Hosts African American History Month Speaker

Andersonville National Historic Site

National Park News

On February 11 and 12 Andersonville National Historic Site and the Friends of Andersonville hosted Dr. Frank Smith, Jr. Founder and Director of the African American Civil War Museum, located in Washington, DC. A native of Georgia, Dr. Smith became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, and later moved to Washington, DC where he served as City Councilor for more than 15 years. Dr. Smith spoke in front of 800 students at the Americus-Sumter High School on Friday, February 11 and at the park's National Prisoner of War Museum on Saturday, February 12.

Introducing Dr. Smith, park superintendent Brad Bennett stated that at least 103 African-American soldiers, including individuals from the United States Colored Troops, the 54th Massachusetts, and other state regiments were held as prisoners at Andersonville during the war. Thirty-four died there and are buried in the Andersonville National Cemetery.

Smith said that today as we prepare to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we have the benefit of knowing how the Civil War ended, unlike Lincoln or Jefferson Davis or Frederick Douglass. “We know it’s going to end with the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery,” he said. “We know it’s going to end with the 14th Amendment which made black people citizens and it’s going to end with the 15th Amendment giving blacks the right to vote. We also know something else: the 44th president of the United States is Barack Obama. That’s a great ending to the story.”



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