Press/Journalists
Press Release
January 31, 2000
Black History Events at the National Archives in February

Washington, DC . . . To celebrate Black History month in February, the National Archives and Records Administration presents eight events and one special document display. All programs are free and open to the public and will take place at the downtown National Archives Building, Pennsylvania Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, N.W. The public may verify times and dates by calling the National Archives public events line at (202) 501-5000 (TDD users may call 202-501-5404).

PLEASE NOTE: The National Archives Theater is now equipped with a system that allows the hearing-impaired to use a set of headphones, or neck loop and a small receiver, to enhance the volume of the public address system. Visitors may request these devices in the projection booth of the Theater.

Tuesday, February 1 -Special Document Display
In celebration of Black History Month, NARA will display documents relating to the career of Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper (1856-1940). Lt. Flipper was the first African American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. In 1881, after a court-martial on trumped-up charges, he was dishonorably discharged from the Army. Lt. Flipper spent much of the rest of his life unsuccessfully attempting to clear himself of the charges. In 1976, the Army granted him an honorable discharge posthumously, and in 1999 President Bill Clinton granted Lt. Flipper a full pardon. Rotunda, through February 29.

Wednesday, February 2-Author Lecture and Booksigning
William Hannibal Thomas (1843-1935), an Ohio mulatto who served with distinction in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War, was a self-professed-and nationally known-critic of his own race. John David Smith will discuss his book, Black Judas: William Hannibal Thomas and the American Negro, which examines Thomas's transformation from a critical but optimistic black nationalist to a cynical Negrophobe as the 20th century dawned. Professor Smith is Graduate Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at North Carolina State University. Noon. Room 105.

Thursday, February 10-Author Lecture and Booksigning
Bruce Adelson will discuss his book, Brushing Back Jim Crow: The Integration of Minor League Baseball in the American South. Although Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball in 1947, African American players continued to struggle for acceptance on southern farm teams well into the 1960s. Mr. Adelson interviewed dozens of athletes, managers, and sportswriters who witnessed this important, but largely unrecognized front in the civil rights movement. Noon. Room 105.

Friday, February 11-Film
A Perfect Equality, released in 1992, chronicles the African American community in Columbia, SC, from the beginnings of the city in 1786 to the present. The program addresses the changing perceptions of social and racial equality and the tradition of strategy building between blacks and whites to achieve a peaceful end to segregation. Produced and written by Catherine E. Fleming Bruce. (90 minutes.) Noon. Theater.

Friday, February 18-Film
Held in Trust: The Story of Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper, released in 1998. In conjunction with this month's featured document (see February 1), NARA presents this uplifting story of the first African American graduate from the West Point Military Academy. Based on an original one-man, one-act play, Held in Trust weaves historical narration (by actor Ossie Davis) with dramatic recreations of an elderly Flipper reminiscing about this life. Produced by KCOS, El Paso. Directed by Laura Tate. (60 minutes.) Noon. Theater.

Wednesday, February 23-Archival Sources Lecture
"Fiends . . . facing Zion-wards": Abraham Lincoln's Reluctant Embrace of the Abolitionists.

Although Lincoln believed that slave emancipation during the Civil War was the most memorable event of his administration, he was still held in contempt by the northern abolitionists. Was this simply a clash between a cautious leader and impatient reformers? Or does Lincoln represent a very different way of tackling the deep problems of American life? These provocative questions are posed by speaker Allen C. Guelzo, author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, published last fall by Eerdmans. Co-sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Institute of the Mid-Atlantic. Noon. Room 105.

Thursday, February 24-Film
Daughters of the Dust, released in 1991. This poetic film (the first feature film by an African American woman to receive theatrical release in the U.S.) chronicles one day in 1902 on Sea Island, SC, as a family of Gullah (descendants of slaves who maintain their West African heritage) gather to celebrate their ancestors before some of them leave for the North. Directed by Julie Dash. (114 minutes.) 7 P.M. Theater.

Friday, February 25-Film
Family Across the Sea, released in 1990. This award-winning documentary explores the remarkable connections between the Gullah of the South Carolina/Georgia Sea Islands and the people of West Africa, particularly those of Sierra Leone. Taped in South Carolina and Africa, the program traces this truly unparalleled historical connection and continued relationship dating from the time of slavery. Produced by South Carolina Educational Television. (60 minutes.) Noon. Theater.

Tuesday, February 29-Author Lecture and Booksigning
Hilary Mac Austin and Kathleen Thompson discuss their book, The Face of Our Past: Images of Black Women from Colonial America to the Present. This comprehensive pictorial history tells the story of black women with 302 images and quotations from letters, diaries, journals, and other sources. Hilary Mac Austin was a contributing writer to The Encyclopedia of Black Women in America. Kathleen Thompson co-authored, with Darlene Clark Hine, A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America. Noon. Room 105.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.

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