December 8, 2023

Black Civil War Soldiers Exhibit Makes Stop in Lex Park

Soldiers Civil War

The “Seventeen Men: Portraits of African American Civil War Soldiers” temporary exhibit will make a stop in Lexington Park at the US Colored Troops Interpretive Center.

The exhibit will be available free to the public on select days through December 2022. The link above has the dates the exhibit will be free to the public.

The traveling exhibit was created by professional artist and illustrator Shayne Davidson about the US Colored Troops during the American Civil War.

While working on a family tree for a friend, Ms. Davidson was shown a photograph of a soldier who had served in the 25th Infantry, Co. G of the US Colored Troops during the war. The friend’s grandfather, a white man, had served as the unit’s captain. Seventeen of the 113 men under Captain Prickitt’s command had had their pictures made during the war, and they were all in an album that the family had kept (the album has since been donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington DC, where it is currently on display).

After seeing the album, Ms. Davidson began to wonder about who these men were. She used her skills as a genealogist to create their biographies and her skills as an artist to create life-sized portraits from the miniatures she had first been shown in the album. Each of the men depicted survived the war and were mustered out in December 1865.

Each of the portraits was done with colored pencils on card stock and is approximately life-sized. A short biography of each man accompanies the artwork, as does the original photograph that inspired the portrait.

Also on display in the US Colored Troops Interpretive Center are portraits and biographies of two St. Mary’s County soldiers who served in the USCT in the 38th Infantry Regiment. These two men were awarded the Medal of Honor for their valor and bravery at the Battle of New Market Heights, Virginia, in 1864.

The open reception and ceremony are free. The event is sponsored in part by Civil War Trails, Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions, St. Mary’s County Museum Division, and other community partners.

The USCT Interpretive Center is at 21675 S. Coral Drive in Lexington Manor Passive Park, Lexington Park, MD.

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