Wednesday, April 10, 2024

New Bennett Place State Historic Site Program to Commemorate the End of Slavery

Apr 10, 2024

The Civil War surrender at the Bennett farmhouse sealed the fate of slavery in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. To cap off the 159th anniversary of the surrender, Bennett Place State Historic Site will host a new event to commemorate the end of legal slavery and to honor the more than 331,000 enslaved men, women, and children in North Carolina at the time of the Civil War. The program, entitled “The Day Had Come: Emancipation at Bennett Place,” will take place Saturday, April 27 from 7-9 p.m.

While illuminations at Civil War sites typically commemorate battlefield deaths, Bennett Place will become one of the few places to use luminaries to commemorate enslaved people who gained freedom at the war’s end. Three hundred and thirty-one luminaries will be placed along the historic tour path – one for each 1,000 people enslaved in the state. Historic Sites staff will share the stories of the enslaved with visitors as they walk the tour trail. At approximately 7:45 p.m., site manager Kaitlin O’Connor will lead a reflection ceremony on the historic grounds.

“We are honored to hold this event to showcase how monumental the surrender at Bennett Place was for hundreds of thousands of enslaved people in North Carolina,” Bennett Place Site Manager Kaitlin O’Connor states. “We invite everyone to join us in reflecting on the hardships of those enslaved and the joy of their emancipation.”

This evening program follows a daytime event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. focused on the 159th anniversary of the Civil War surrender of General Joseph Johnston to Union General William T. Sherman at the Bennett farmhouse. Daytime events include living historians interpreting military and civilian life during the Civil War. The daytime event costs $5 per adult and $2 per child. “The Day Had Come” program will not charge any admission fee.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.

The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit

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