Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Port Columbus Celebrates Black History Month

For immediate release Contact:    Jon Ezzell
(706) 327-9798 or (800) 742-2811

Special Black History Month Programming at Port Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA – 150 years ago, at least 35 African American men from the Chattahoochee River Valley escaped slavery and joined the U.S. Navy. Throughout the Civil War, slaves, former slaves and freemen served on opposing sides in the service of the U.S. and Confederate Navies as both civilians and sailors.

In recognition the 2011 Black History Month theme of African Americans in the Civil War, Port Columbus will be holding a special program titled Black in Blue: African Americans in the Civil War Navies. Written and directed by Museum Director of Programs Ken Johnston, this program will feature the first-person stories of three black sailors who served on both sides in the battle for the USS Water Witch. The ship was captured by the Confederate Navy near Savannah in 1864 and has been recreated in full-scale on Museum grounds.

“These are stories you won’t hear anywhere else,” said Johnston. “Guests will see what the events surrounding the capture of the ship looked like from the perspective of each of these three men.” In addition, there will be special interpretive tours highlighting the African American Naval experience, using the Museum’s award-winning exhibits as well as personal stories.

The event will take place Saturday, February 19, with tours running at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m, and the main program at 1:00 p.m. At 2:00 p.m., guest speaker Dr. Steven Ramold, author of Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy, will speak on the African American experience in the U.S. Navy, telling the story of black sailors in the struggle of slaves and freedmen to become citizens.

On Friday the 18th, tours and programs will be offered to school groups, and on Sunday the 20th, tours will be offered at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. for the general public. Only general admission will be charged.
Port Columbus is located at 1002 Victory Drive, and is open daily from 9 to 5. For more information, visit the museum’s website at or call 706-327-9798.


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