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Hagley”s Civil War Education Series Highlights Human Contraband


Hagley Museum and Library presents the first spring program of its Civil War Education Series, “Human Contraband: African Americans in the Civil War” by Hagley Reference Archivist Lucas Clawson.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Copeland Room of the Hagley Library.  Use Hagley’s Buck Road East entrance off Route 100 in Wilmington, Delaware. Reservations requested, 302-658-2400.

The current Hagley exhibit in the Visitor Center, “An Oath of Allegiance to the Republic: The du Ponts and the Civil War,” will be open and free from 4:30 to 6:45pm.

The United States government listed escaped and liberated slaves as “contraband of war.” Defining ex-slaves as contraband meant that the government could free slaves in areas occupied by the military and did not have to return them to their masters. It was a way to deal with the influx of former chattels as well as frustrate slaveholders within a legal framework.

“The story of Contraband is often pushed behind the grand narratives of iconic politicians and military leaders who receive the lion’s share of the glory for emancipation and American social change,” says Hagley Reference Archivist Lucas Clawson. “Contraband’s involvement in the Civil War had many long-term effects that set the tone for government policy, race relations, and civil rights for the next 100 years.”

Lucas R. Clawson is the Reference Archivist with Hagley Museum and Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Department. He is a graduate of the Public and Applied History Program at Appalachian State University. Lucas is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department’s Hagley Graduate Program at the University of Delaware.

“An Oath of Allegiance to the Republic: The du Ponts and the Civil War” explores the roles played by several du Pont family members, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., and the local community in response to the Civil War. It also delves into their involvement at the state, national, and international levels in resolving the most devastating conflict Americans have ever seen. The exhibit, located in the Visitor Center, will remain open until 6:45pm the evening of March 8. To access the exhibit, use the main museum entrance off Route 141.

Hagley Museum and Library collects, preserves, and interprets the unfolding history of American enterprise. For more information, call 302.658.2400 weekdays or visit www.hagley.org.