Fighting For Freedom: African Americans During the Civil War

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Glimpses at the Freedmen - The Freedmen's Union Industrial School, Richmond, Va.

Similar to other communities, African American women helped with the war effort on the homefront. African American women created sewing circles, tended to the sick and wounded soldiers, along with other wartime activities.

In Cleveland the Colored Ladies Auxiliary of the Soldiers' Aid Society of Northern Ohio was organized in 1863. Lucy Stanton Day, the first African American woman to finish a four year degree (she graduated from Oberlin College with a Literary Degree in 1850), was one of the society's members. Originally a part of the Soldiers' Aid Society, the group eventually became its own organization.

Joseph E. Sampson, the society's Corresponding Secretary, stated in a letter to the Weekly Anglo-African, that the women "aided the families of soldiers in our midst, and have sent garments and nourishments to our 5th United States Regiment while sick in the hospital at Camp Delaware, as well as visiting them in person and like ministering angels bathed their feverish brows and moistened their parched lips."(1)

Along with tending to the soldiers, the society also raised money at community fairs for the Sanitary Commission and gave African American troops on the front subscriptions to the Weekly Anglo-African.

1. Forbes, Ella. African American Women During the Civil War, Garland Publishing, Inc.: New York, 1998, p. 103