Emancipation and the Continuing Struggle for Racial Justice

Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 6pm
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street
Emancipation and the Continuing Struggle for Racial Justice

Abraham Lincoln has been called The Great Emancipator and the issuance of The Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 certainly changed American history forever. It is important to understand that this act was neither the beginning nor the end of the emancipation process but was the tipping point.

Lincoln struggled with and evolved his position on emancipation over a
number of years and was moved toward Emancipation by pressure from the public, from “Radical Republicans” and from his staff and army.

November 2 is The 150th Anniversary of the Firing of General John C. Fremont for issuing his own Emancipation Proclamation. John C. Fremont was an explorer, a U.S. senator, the first Republican presidential nominee, a Union general, and the Radical Democracy presidential nominee. As major general commanding the Department of the West (headquartered in St. Louis) Fremont issued his own emancipation proclamation declaring all slaves in the State of Missouri free on August 30, 1861. President Abraham Lincoln first suggested, and then ordered Fremont to rescind the emancipation order.

When Fremont refused, Lincoln then rescinded the emancipation order himself on September 11 and fired Fremont on November 2, 1861. These events help us understand the importance of citizen participation in the making of public policy.

Our panel discusses the history of the anti-slavery movement, of emancipation and self-emancipation, and the struggle for racial justice in Philadelphia both in history and today.

Michael Coard is a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia and an adjunct professor in the African Studies Department and the Urban Studies Department at Temple University. He is a founding member of Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC), president of the Philadelphia Millions More Movement, a former state board member of the ACLU, and a founding member of Judging The Judges, as well as a member of the National Lawyers Guild, the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Philadelphia Bar Association. He hosts the popular Afrocentric “Radio Courtroom” show on WURD-900AM.

Robert F. Engs was undergraduate chair of the History Department and co-chair of the Afro-American Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania (retired). He is author of Freedom’s First Generation: Black Hampton, Va., 1861-1890 and Educating the Disfranchised and Disinherited; Samuel Chapman Armstrong and Hampton Institute, 1839-1893 and co-edited with Randall Miller, The Rise of the Grand Old Party on the early years of the Republican Party. Professor Engs is a former Guggenheim and William Penn Fellow.  He is a recipient of the Lindback Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Randall M. Miller, Professor of History and holder of the William Dirk Warren Sesquicentennial Chair at Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, speaks often on national and regional politics and government; the Civil War and Reconstruction; power and class in America; Colonial and Revolutionary America; the history of immigration; ethnic and urban America; and slavery and the Old South. His knowledge of American history blends with his interest in modern politics to create a unique perspective. He is the co-editor of The Great Task Remaining Before Us: Reconstruction As America’s Continuing Civil War.

James Mueller has 42 years of experience in research archaeology, history and cultural resources management, 30 years in the National Park Service and ten years as chief historian at the Independence Hall National Historic Park in Philadelphia. He is editor/author of two books, many papers and essays including co-editing with Richard Newman in 2011 Antislavery and Abolition in Philadelphia: Emancipation and the Long struggle for Racial Justice in the City of Brotherly Love.

For More Information: www.moonstoneartscenter.org/emancipation

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