STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - Historic Fort Steuben will have "Civil War: The African-American Experience" exhibit on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday Feb. 5 through Feb. 22 at the Fort Steuben Visitor Center's Exhibit Hall.
Commemorating both the Civil War's 150th anniversary and Black History Month, the exhibit includes information on the history of slavery and emancipation through the war time years; the Ohio men who served in the U.S. Colored Troops; the educators and leaders who worked with the emancipated slaves; and black Ohio men who earned the Medal of Honor.
"Black soldiers were not initially welcomed in the military but when they finally were accepted, they served with distinction in a number of battles," explained Judy Bratten, Historic Fort Steuben executive director. "The heroism exhibited by the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers was memorably dramatized in the film 'Glory.' Much less well-known are the stories of the civilians who worked with the military and the emancipated slaves who were thrown into a new world. We hope this exhibit will open a window into that tumultuous time."
The Black History Month Essay Contest is open to children in first through 12th grades. The winner of the first-fourth grade category will receive $25; the winner of the fifth-eighth grade category will receive $50; and the winner of the ninth-12th grade category will receive $75. Essays will be judged on originality, grammar, relevance to the theme and effective expression. Children may submit only one essay. Entry forms can be found at www.oldfortsteuben.org/EssayContestForm.html. They must be postmarked no later than Feb. 11 and should be mailed to Labelle Neighbors Who Care, P.O. Box 301, Steubenville, OH 43952.
Children in first through fourth grades should write on the theme "What Interesting and Positive Facts Have You Learned About Africa?" The essay should be at least one paragraph of at least five sentences and must be either neatly written or typed and single-spaced in a 12-point font.
Children in fifth through eight grades should write on the theme "What Interest and Positive Facts Have You Learned About Africa?" or "What Information Have You Learned About Your Heritage That Has Inspired You and May Help Your Future?" The essay should be at least 250 words and typed and single-spaced in a 12-point font.
Students in ninth through 12th grades should write on the theme "What Interest and Positive Facts Have You Learned About Africa?" or "What Information Have You Learned About Your Heritage That Has Inspired You and May Help Your Future?" The essay should be at least 350 words and typed and single-spaced in a 12-point font.
The essay contest is organized by Asantewa Anyabwile and is financially supported by Franciscan University of Steubenville. For information, call (740) 346-9925.
The Black History Month Film Festival, "Africa: What We Didn't Learn in School and What You Don't See on Television," sponsored by the fort and Labelle Neighbors Who Care, will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 16. Films include "Stories From the Black Tradition," "Sankofa" and "Hidden Colors." There also will be a presentation on "A Taste of Africa," and essay contest winners will be announced.
The fort will host a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, African-Americans who served as pilots, navigators, bombardiers, instructors and maintenance staff in the Army Air Corps in World War II. Deborah Keith of Maryland will give a presentation on her uncles, Jerome Edwards and John "Ellis" Edwards of Steubenville, whom served among the Tuskegee Airmen, at 3 p.m. Feb. 22. Ambrose Bolling of Weirton also will give a presentation on the Tuskegee Airmen at that time.
All programs are at the Fort Steuben Visitor Center located at 120 S. 3rd Street in Steubenville and are open to the public; donations are welcome. For information, call Historic Fort Steuben at (740) 283-1787.