February 24, 1998
National Archives Announces a New Digital Classroom Project: The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War
Washington, DC . . . The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announces a new Digital Classroom project on its website. "The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War," presents historical documents, photographs, links to related sites, and teaching suggestions correlated to the National Standards for History and the National Standards for Civics and Government.
The issues of emancipation and military service were intertwined from the onset of the Civil War. News from Fort Sumter set off a rush by free black men to enlist in U.S. military units. Although they were initially turned away, by the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10% of the Union Army) had served as soldiers or laborers with the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served with the Navy.
"The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War" explores the steps taken by the Lincoln Administration to authorize the recruitment of African American troops and the results of their service in the war. Many of the documents included in this project come from the Compiled Military Service Records of the United States Colored Troops.
"The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War" is the latest in a series of Digital Classroom projects that the National Archives and Records Administration has produced for teachers and students on the website. Other subjects covered on NARA’s education website include units on woman suffrage, the Amistad Case, the Constitution, and persuasive poster art from World War II. For a complete listing, visit http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/teaching_with_documents.html.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.