“Up From Slavery to Freedom: New Bern, North Carolina’s Historic 35th United States Colored Troops”
Presented by Bernard George
“Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.” –Frederick Douglass, July 6, 1863
More than 180,000 African Americans fought in the Civil War for the Union Army. New Bern served as the recruiting headquarters for enlisting more than 5,000 soldiers in the United States Colored Troops (USCT). The First North Carolina Colored Volunteers (35th USCT), organized 1863 in historic New Bern, was the first regiment of black Union soldiers formed in North Carolina and one of the first in the South. Commanded by Col. James Beecher (brother of famed abolitionist and author Harriet Beecher Stowe) and staffed by Major John V. DeGrasse, an internationally trained African American medical officer, the 35th USCT is a uniquely significant story that often does not receive the scholarly attention it deserves. Guest speaker Bernard George will discuss the legacy of 35th USCT in the struggle for freedom and citizenship during the American Civil War. George will combine pictures, historical documents and personal vignettes to educate the public and honor the sacrifices of these courageous soldiers.
Lunch & Learn starts at 11:30 a.m. at The Chelsea Restaurant, 335 Middle Street, New Bern. The cost is $18 for Historical Society members and $20 for non-members; lunch is included. Advance reservations must be made by calling the New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558, or can be ordered by clicking here. Lunch choices are: Baked Salmon with champagne dill sauce and Pork Tenderloin with blueberry ginger glaze; both are served with parmesan risotto, sautéed green beans, rolls, lemon layer cake, tea and coffee.