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Freedom! A Promise Disrupted: North Carolina, 1862-1901

Jan. 25, through Jul. 14, 2019

The Civil War is often considered the “second American Revolution” and viewed as a rebirth of freedom. This second revolution included emancipation from an institution that had kept 4 million black people, over a quarter-million in North Carolina, in bondage.

Those emancipated set out to claim freedoms: to be families, to better themselves, to make a living, and to experience the rights of equal citizenship and the dignity accorded existence as people rather than property.

These attempts to remake lives—and, in the process, remake a nation—are known as the time of “Reconstruction.” In North Carolina, however, the expansion of freedoms was limited and cut short by a backlash of racism and terrorism.

For Educators

This document is used with the permission of the Ashbrook Center, Ashland University. It is part of their Core Document Curriculum series for teachers. For more information visit their website:

For more articles and resources for teachers, view and download this document.

Interview with Earl Ijames, Consulting Curator for the Exhibit