The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 6, 2013

Phoenix Historical hosting annual black history program


ROCKY MOUNT — The Phoenix Historical Society will host its annual black history program at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 in the Edgecombe County Administrative Building auditorium.

Keynoting the program will be North Carolina historian Dr. David Cecelski, who will speak on his new book, “The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War.”

The Phoenix Historical Society is the 150th anniversary of the African Brigade of the Union Army that was organized in New Bern, in May 1863, consisting of refugees from enslavement in North Carolina who took up arms to fight for freedom. Galloway played a leading role in organizing the African Brigade and was the undisputed leader among African Americans in North Carolina during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Galloway, who lived from 1837-1870, was a young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy who rose out of bondage to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the South during the Civil War. Throughout his brief life, Galloway fought against slavery and injustice. He risked his life behind enemy lines, recruited black soldiers for the North, and fought racism in the Union army’s ranks. He also stood at the forefront of an African American political movement that flourished in the Union-occupied parts of North Carolina, even leading a historic delegation of black southerners to the White House to meet with President Lincoln and to demand the full rights of citizenship. He later became one of the first black men elected to the North Carolina legislature.

Cecelski is a North Carolina native who has written extensively on the issues of slavery in the state. He is a graduate of Duke University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.