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        African Americans | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        Explore images highlighting the lives of African Americans during the Civil War. By 1861, the pressure between the Northern and Southern United States exploded into a Civil War. Southern leaders, claiming states’ rights, were threatened by the anti-slavery stance of many Northern states and the newly elected President Abraham Lincoln. Dred Scott had attempted to sue the United States for his freedom, and lost. The great orator and writer Frederick Douglass, a former slave living in the North, became a leader in social reform and the abolitionist movement. African Americans would fight in Northern regiments. And the term “contraband” was used to describe those individuals who had escaped slavery in the south to the north.

        "Auction And Negro Sales," Whitehall Street | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        This image was taken in Atlanta, Georgia, September-November, 1864. After three and a half months of incessant maneuvering and fighting, Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman forced Confederate General John Bell Hood to abandon the munitions center of the confederacy. Sherman remained there, resting his war-worn men and accumulating supplies for nearly two and a half months. During the occupation, George N. Barnard, official photographer of the Chief Engineer's Office, made some of the best documentary images of the war. Unfortunately, much of what he photographed was destroyed in the fire that spread from the military facilities blown up at Sherman's departure on November 15.

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        An African-American Army Cook At Work | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        An African-American army cook is at work in City Point, Va, in this image from the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865.

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        African-Americans Collecting Bones Of Soldiers Killed In Battle | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        African-Americans collect bones of soldiers killed in battle in Cold Harbor, Va. The image was taken during Grant's Wilderness Campaign, May-June, 1864.

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        African-Americans Preparing Cotton For The Gin | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        Seven African-Americans prepare cotton for the gin on Smith's plantation in Port Royal Island, S.C., 1861-1862.

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        Five Generations On Smith's Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        Five generations of an African-American family on Smith's Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina.

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        Servants At Quarters Of Prince De Joinville | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        Image of four men with a wash tub, frying pan, etc, taken on May 3, 1862.

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        Barges With African Americans On The Canal | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        African American refugees on a boat with their household belongings in Richmond, Virginia. April-June, 1865.

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        Frederick Douglass | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        Image of Frederick Douglass, taken in 1855.

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        Dred Scott | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        Portrait of Dred Scott by Louis Schultze, 1888. Missouri Historical Society Museum Collections. The photograph of the portrait was taken by David Schultz in 1999. NS 23864. Photograph and scan, 1999-2006, Missouri Historical Society.

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        Slave Family In Wagon, 1863 | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        A slave family arrives by wagon within Federal lines.

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        Provost Guard Of The 107th Colored Infantry | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        The Union Army, Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry at Fort Corcoran.

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        Black Regiment In Lesson, 1861-1865 | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        In some black regiments, officers and civilian volunteers added lessons in reading and writing to the new skills taught to their recruits: several of these men hold primers in their laps. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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        "Contrabands," Culpeper, Va

        Image shows two African-American men, escaped slaves, sitting in front of a white army tent, one with a cigar and the other with a soup ladle. November, 1863.

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        Contrabands, 1863 | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        "Contrabands" were former slaves who joined the Union Army. Here they are at work on the Union Quartermaster's Wharf in Alexandria, Virginia. Credit: The Civil War.

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        Provost Guard, 1863 | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry at Fort Corcoran, part of the defenses of Washington.

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