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Press release from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, shared Feb. 1:

OLD FORT — In tribute to Black History Month and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Mountain Gateway Museum, in cooperation with the McDowell County Public Library, will present a lecture by Darin Waters on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 3:30 p.m. at the library in Marion. The talk, Emancipation, A Crime Against Humanity?, will place special emphasis on the role that slaves played in achieving their own freedom, along with developments in Western North Carolina.

Darin Waters

The influence the slaves exerted in making emancipation a specific aim of the war for politicians, particularly President Abraham Lincoln, will be examined.  Even the recent film Lincoln included the presence of slaves and U.S. Colored Troops as the legislative process of ratifying the 13th Amendment was later debated in Congress and legislatively freed the enslaved.

Historical research by Waters, UNC-Asheville professor of history, has unearthed new and different insights into the pre-emancipation experiences of African Americans in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Through examining original documents, a more accurate picture emerges of African American life that challenges what has been commonly accepted as fact.

For additional information call (828) 668-9259 or (919) 807-7389. Mountain Gateway Museum is within the Division of State History Museums in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more on North Carolina’s arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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