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Civil War Reenactor Keeps History of U.S. Colored Troops Alive

African Americans relive their role

AARP empowers you to pursue your goals and dreams - Gloria Estefan


George's love of black history led him to become a reenactor about six years ago. He joined the North Carolina Colored Volunteers, a group of about 20 men who represent the 35th, 36th and 37th U.S. Colored Troops Infantry and Battery B, 2nd U.S. Colored Light Artillery.

Last year, in celebration of New Bern's 300th anniversary, George and other New Bern residents traveled to Ghana with 10 high school students, where they met with African diplomats. It was one of his proudest moments.

"As a Civil War reenactor, I introduced Ghanaians to the history we shared as one of the first cities in North Carolina where African Americans gained their freedom, much like Ghana, the first African country to gain its independence from European control," he says.

Portrays historical figures

As part of the Volunteers, George has visited schools and libraries, and has participated in community programs as well as battle reenactments. He, like other black Civil War reenactors, takes pride in lending voice to countless soldiers who fought and died in battle.

"There was a lot of animosity toward African Americans who fought in the Civil War," George says. "They were made to turn in their guns in South Carolina. In North Carolina, there was also an effort to disarm them."

As a living history reenactor, George has portrayed several historical figures. Among them is Abraham Galloway, a fugitive slave who became a leader of North Carolina's black insurgency movement. "His courage was legendary," George says.

Next: Female Re-Enactors of Distinction. >>

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