Lancaster – African Americans occupied both the first and last places in President Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession from the White House to the Capitol on April 19, 1865. That's according to Kent State Professor Dr. Leonne Hudson who is speaking at Ohio University Lancaster February 28 to mark Black History Month.
"Black History Month is a time in which all Americans, black and white, can pause and reflect upon the contributions that people of African descent have made to the life and history of the nation," said Hudson. "African American history is American history. Black Americans have persevered and as a result America has progressed."
Hudson will make a presentation called "Supplying the Missing Pages in African American History." The Civil War historian will talk about how black soldiers reacted to the assassination of President Lincoln.
"In my study of African American soldiers, it became apparent that they had a great admiration for their commander in chief," said Hudson. "Black soldiers were plunged into deep sadness upon learning of the president's assassination.Their universal expression of grief led me to take a closer look at the reaction of the United States Colored Troops to the death of the Lincoln."
Hudson said it is important for people to learn about African American history during the Civil War to understand how much black Americans had to fight for their freedom.
"My study confirms that African American men and women were active participants in the struggle for their own freedom. Black soldiers were courageous warriors despite being led by ineffective white commanders on many occasions," said Husdon. "When Lincoln's death occurred on April 15, no group in America expressed their sorrow more deeply than the men of the United States Colored Troops. After all, it was Lincoln who was the architect of the black army and he had given them the opportunity to prove their manhood and patriotism during the war."
Hudson said he looks forward to speaking in the hometown of a great Civil War figure, William T. Sherman.
"Sherman was a significant historical figure during the turbulent decade of the 1860s.He was a great general who played a major role in bringing the Civil War to a successful conclusion for the Union army," said Hudson. "Sherman, however, harbored deep racist views regarding African Americans."
Hudson will take to the Lancaster Campus Wagner Theatre stage for his presentation after Master Jazz Flautist Galen Abdur-Razzaq performs. The event starts at 6:30 p.m and is being put on by Ohio University Lancaster's Diversity Committee and Cultural Events Committee.