Center for Northern Appalachian Studies to Assist in Honoring Black Civil War Soldiers

Posted on 2/15/2010 9:13:00 AM

On November 5–7, 2010, Harrisburg will hold exhibitions and a reenactment of the 1865 grand review of black Civil War soldiers, which was a response to their not being invited to participate in the Grand Review of the Armies by Union soldiers following the end of the Civil War.

After the Civil War ended, Union soldiers were invited to a Grand Review of the Armies in Washington, D.C., but the black soldiers who fought in the war were not invited to participate. In response, a group of African-American women in Harrisburg declared public outrage and then held their own grand review, officially sanctioned by the U.S. Army. The event brought hundreds of black soldiers from twenty-five states to the capitol and featured an encampment and march on November 14, 1865.

The United States Colored Troops (USCT) were regiments of the U.S. Army comprised of free blacks and freed slaves; the soldiers reinforced the Union army in the final two years of the Civil War.

The 2010 event will feature presentations and conservation projects to honor the U.S. Colored Troops and tell their stories. Researchers are trying to track down the descendants of those who marched so they can be part of the event.

The 2010 Grand Review is being made possible by the generous support of Amtrak, which provided $25,000 for promotional support and development, along with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council that supplied $16,000 for a symposium of scholars, educators, and enthusiasts.

Dr. Jim Dougherty, director of the IUP Center for Northern Appalachian Studies, will assist in the project by providing research on USCT descendants, help locate soldier’s graves, and train tour guides. One of the major goals of the endeavor is to connect descendants to their legacies and build and interpret their stories.

The Grand Review has been created in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission, Pennsylvania Dutch Country Roads, the Senator John Heinz History Center, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Concerned Black Men of Pennsylvania, Partnership for Sacred Spaces, Institute for Cultural Partnerships, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania Civil War 150 Consortium, Historical Society of Dauphin County, Dauphin County Parks and Recreation, Jump Street Inc., Harrisburg 150, and the IUP Center for Northern Appalachian Studies.

To volunteer to clean up black cemeteries, to donate to restore the muster rolls, or to provide information on an ancestor who fought in the U.S. Colored Troops, call 800-VISIT-PA or contact Dr. Dougherty at 724-357-2734.