On Saturday, March 3, 'Liberation and Freedom Day,' organized by the University of Virginia and the City of Charlottesville, marks 153 years since Union troops liberated the area. WMRA’s Marguerite Gallorini has this preview.
The day will start at 9 a.m. with speeches and prayer at UVa’s Rotunda Dome room, followed by a procession marching through the city. The celebration will continue at the African American Heritage Center at 11 a.m. with a panel discussion featuring faculty from UVa and the Nau Center for Civil War History. William Kurtz, the Managing Director and Digital Historian at the Nau Center, will talk about their new research project.
WILLIAM KURTZ: It's a pretty brand new project that we began a couple of years ago, just before - believe it or not - the current debate over the Confederate statues broke out. What happened before the Civil War was that many African-Americans were forced out of the state because they were free and they were no longer wanted here; or they were forced through the slave trade to move to other states. So all of these men and their families had been uprooted from Albemarle and sent all over the South, and all over the North. And when the time came that they could actually enlist and do something to end slavery, they stepped up, and served in either the Union army or navy.
At the recent conference on slavery at UVa, many descendants from the families enslaved at Monticello and elsewhere in Central Virginia had attended.
KURTZ: We've invited some of the families of the people that I'll be talking about to come, so we hope they're able to make it.