The Newberry Library Colloquium

"The Negro's Right to the Coat of Blue/To Freemen's Hopes and Manhood Too": Outfitting African American Soldiers in the Civil War
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

4 – 5 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Sarah Jones Weicksel, Graduate Scholar-in-Residence, Newberry Library; PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of Chicago

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared freedom to thousands of slaves. The Proclamation also authorized the enrollment of African American men in the United States Army, a right previously denied them. However, that black soldiers would wear the eagle-stamped buttons and Union blue uniform worn by white soldiers was by no means a foregone conclusion. Sarah Jones Weicksel will explore the debates surrounding the outfitting of the United States Colored Troops, the role of the uniform in symbolically transforming the slave into soldier, and the visual, material, and textual “transformation” narratives surrounding black soldiers, masculinity, and freedom.

The Newberry Library Colloquium is a weekly gathering of Newberry staff members, fellows, scholars-in-residence, and readers on Wednesday afternoon. Refreshments are available at 3:30 pm and an informal presentation begins at 4 pm, followed by discussion. The talks are varied, but all relate to the Newberry collections in some way. Speakers may describe a current research project, highlight a particular collection, or discuss one of the Library’s many ongoing or special programs. The Colloquium is open to the public and no reservations are required.

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