Slavery and Freedom

September 24, 2016 – Permanent
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Harriet Tubman's personal book of hymns. Gospel Hymns No, 2, by P.P. Bliss and Ira Sankey. Published Chicago; John Church (1876)

As the centerpiece of the museum, this exhibition explores the complex story of slavery and freedom, a story standing at the core of our national experience. Beginning in the 15th century with the transatlantic slave trade, through the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, the exhibition uses personal stories to explore the economic and political legacies of slavery for all Americans.

Priceless objects featured include:

  • Harriett Tubman’s shawl and hymn book (c. 1876)
  • Nat Turner’s bible (1830s)
  • shackles used for an enslaved child
  • a slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C.
  • a pocket copy of the Emancipation Proclamation read from by soldiers bringing news of freedom to the U.S. Colored Troops
  • freedom papers (c. 1852) carried by a former slave, Joseph Trammell