ESSAY –End of Civil War


In 2015, Matthew Pinsker wrote a short essay for the Smithsonian / Zocalo Public Square series, “What It Means To Be American,” on the subject of the debates about civil rights that erupted among abolitionists at the end of the Civil War.  The piece begins with a description of a little known episode that marked the end of the conflict: the Union flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865, attended by leading abolitionists, including Henry Ward Beecher and William Lloyd Garrison.  The House Divided Project has digitized and reexamined photos from that ceremony and offers new insights about Garrison’s presence at Sumter.  Combining the essay with the photo post offers a powerful gateway into the study of Reconstruction and the enduring challenges of race and equality in American history.

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