Friday, January 28, 2022

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

Jan 28, 2022

From Feb. 3 to March 31, the Western Office of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will host the exhibit, Freedom! A Promise Disrupted: North Carolina, 1862-1901. The exhibit will be open to the public weekly from 10 a.m-2 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

Created by staff at the N.C. Museum of History in 2019, the exhibit depicts the struggle newly freed African Americans faced in the post-Civil War and Reconstruction Era of North Carolina. The exhibit allows visitors to step through time and view how the Civil War and Reconstruction affected North Carolina, highlighting African Americans’ flight to freedom and their involvement in the Civil War.

“North Carolina suffered under slavery for two hundred years until the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865,” said Earl L. Ijames, curator of African American history at the Museum of History. “After the Civil War, formerly enslaved people formed families, and established churches, educational institutions and communities for the first time in history, only to see racism and segregation reverse those gains by the turn of the twentieth century.”

Following the Civil War, African American citizens pushed for radical reconstruction that would guarantee them more rights and protections under the law. This was followed by heavy and violent white backlash. “After the Civil War, African Americans in North Carolina helped to rebuild the nation on a new foundation, one that for a brief moment hoped to fulfill to the promise of liberty for all,” said Susanna Lee, exhibit curator and Associate Professor at North Carolina State University. The exhibit combines text, photographs, artwork, and artifacts.

The Western Office of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is located at 176 Riceville Road, Asheville, N.C. For additional information about the exhibition and special virtual programming please call (828) 250-3105, email, or visit

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit

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