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Captain Frederick C. Branch: The First African American Commissioned Officer in the USMC

Written by Kevin L. Bradley, Archives Technician in the Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Division at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland The National Archives holds thousands of photographs illustrating the various activities of servicemen and women in all branches of the Armed Forces. The photographs are able to give visuals of the bravery and […]

The Chaos of Emancipation

Written by Linda Barnickel, independent archivist and freelance writer It’s easy for us today to think that enslaved people during the Civil War era were held in bondage, and then all of a sudden, were not. Whether they ran away or remained on the plantation until Union troops invaded the area, it’s easy to think […]

A Callin’ from Colón: Photographs of Black Employees Working on the Panama Canal

Written by Barbara Lewis Burger, a retired National Archives Still Picture Senior Archivist  We hea’ a callin’ from Colon We hea’ a callin’ from Limon Let’s quit de t’ankless toil an’ fret Fe where the better pay we’ll get ~Claude McKay, Peasants’ Way O’ Thinkin’ According to La Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (Panama Canal […]

Striving Towards the Great Society: Remembering LBJ, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Momentous Year that Encompassed It

Written by Dr. Miranda Booker Perry, Archivist at the National Archives at Washington, D. C.   LBJ and Civil Rights Although I did not have the opportunity to attend the Civil Rights Summit in April of this year, having the event at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library was most fitting. A key component of […]

Freedmen’s Bureau Transportation Records: Letters of “Sold” Former Slaves Seeking to Rejoin Loved Ones

Written by Damani Davis, Reference Archivist at the National Archives in Washington, D. C. Due to the recent popularity of genealogy-based television series such as, African American Lives, Who Do You Think You Are, and Faces of America, the interest in genealogical research has grown rapidly among African Americans. Reference archivists and specialists at the […]

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