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Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, "How Free is Free?"

Old State House Museum - Monday, September 28, 2015
We’re already excited about Saturday, October 10, when we will co-host the “Legacy of Arkansas’s Civil War” seminar with the Arkansas Sesquicentennial Commission.

Today we welcome Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, Associate Professor of History at Arkansas State University, to answer some questions about the talk she will be presenting, entitled “How Free is Free? African Americans in Post-Civil War Arkansas."

OSH: Can you give our audience a preview of what you will be talking about?

CJB: I’ll talk about how emancipated African Americans throughout the South and in Arkansas in particular understood, created, and accessed opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities in the years following the Civil War.

OSH: What are some of the major challenges African Americans faced after the Civil War?

CJB: African Americans faced increasing economic, social, and political marginalization and of course, racial violence as evidenced by the number of lynchings that occurred in Arkansas in the late 19th and 20th century. Yet the extent of community and institution building during these years provides ample evidence of African Americans’ determination to make real the promise and benefits of freedom during these years despite and perhaps because of the difficulties they endured.

OSH: What did freedom mean for African Americans in post-Civil War Arkansas?

CJB: For African Americans, freedom meant the ability to create and sustain cohesive family units, to build institutions to educate their communities, to move freely without restriction, and to access the fruits of their own labor.

To find out more about this story and many others of Arkansas after the Civil War, register for the seminar!

Registration for the seminar is $15, which includes lunch. To register, contact Tanya Canada at (501) 683-2954 or [email protected] The deadline to register is October 6.

Full information here.