Mar 29, 2010

Urgent Press Release Submitted by Leon Brooks

 The following release was issued by Richard Patterson,director of The Old Barracks whose unwavering support has helped us tell the story of black soldiers in the American Revolution.
For Immediate Release:                                                                        March 25, 2010
Contact: Richard Patterson, Executive Director (845)551-7725
Old Barracks Museum
101 Barracks St.
Trenton, NJ   08608

Old Barracks Eliminated from New Jersey Budget after 93 Years

The Old Barracks, which the New Jersey Legislature ordered built in 1758-59 to house British troops for the French and Indian War, has been cut from the FY11 proposed budget.
The State-owned National Historic Landmark was saved by a group of patriotic Trenton women who in 1914 gave the building and land to the State. In return, the Legislature  agreed to partially fund a private-public partnership for the preservation of the site.
Richard Patterson, Executive Director of The Old Barracks Museum, testified today (Thursday, March 25, 2010) at the Camden hearing of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. In his prepared remarks (attached), Patterson stated that the annual State funding level of $375,000, in force since 1994, covers 45% of annual operating costs. Without that funding, Patterson said, the not-for-profit Old Barracks Association, administrator of the site, faces bankruptcy.
The museum celebrated the 250th anniversary of its building in 2009.  The Barracks is the most important building still standing from the Battles of Trenton and has been ranked as one of just two New Jersey sites among the top 25 sites of the American Revolution. It is one of nine museums in New Jersey accredited by the American Association of Museums, the only historic site of the nine.

U.S.Colored Troops Civil War Weekend

USCT Weekend


United States Colored Troops at Fort Mifflin. The activities at the Fort will include: Fort Tours, Historic Impressionists, Exhibits, Demonstrations, and Music.
event contact: Joe Becton 215-834-7328.
All day, Sat Apr 10 – Sun Apr 11, 2010
Fort Mifflin (map)

Mar 28, 2010

Action Packed Kickoff by Leon Brooks

We kicked off this year's reenactment season with appearances at the New York Historical Society (NYH-S). March is the last of our 5 monthly appearances in our Civil War impression, for the Lincoln's New York exhibit, commemorating President Lincoln's 200th birthday. The museum will be closing the exhibits for 18 months to undertake some major renovations.

Our Black History Month (BHM) calendar was one of the most ambitious we've had to date. Starting with our planned celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the USCT room at the Civil War and Native American Museum, in Hamilton. Unfortunately the this event had to be canceled because of the emergency.

Fred Minus, Joe Becton, and I  appeared as the 1st Rhode Island Regiment for the National Park Service's celebration of President Washington's birthday and Black History month, at Federal Memorial Hall. We had more school kids visit our exhibit at this event than I've seen at any similar event before. Class after class came. While I manned the display, Joe Becton wowed the classes with his colonial lore and renditions of Continental  songs. I always look forward to hearing  Joe's presentation. Our historian, he does a lot of research and is always introducing new information. This time he covered the contribution of Hispanics and Africans who fought for Spain against the British during the American Revolution. Fred Minus saw to it that no child or adult was left behind in learning about the exploits of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and the response of blacks to the call to bear arms. We were in good company with our comrades from the Fife and Drums of the Old Barracks, who played at the event.

In one weekend the regimental split up to cover three events for NYH-S, Tory Jack Day at the Staatshouse in Boundbrook, and the Boy Scout encampment at Valley Forge.

1st Sergeant Fred Minus gave a presentation to the Trenton NAACP.

Our BHM culminated with Three Centuries of African American Soldiers. We were fortunate to have the sponsorship and support for this event from the Old Barracks and Trenton Historical Society. The Old Barracks, in addition to hosting the event, produced very beautiful posters and rack cards for the event. In addition to print announcements WZBN TV's interview of us aired the day before. The severe weather had held up some of our preparations, and we were holding our breaths up to the date of the event, hoping the weather would hold. Despite the overcast  ans slight shower we had a great turn out with 88 visitors coming Saturday, and 55 on Sunday. Print and TV news media covered the event.

Cpl. Leon Brooks
photo album - Valerie Willams (special thanks)

Mar 1, 2010

Featured Document: Announcement of the 13th Amendement to End Slavery

As February is African American History Month, I've selected this document, the PROCLAMATION OF WILLIAM H SEWARD SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES  announcing the the ratification Article XIII of the Constitution on February 1. Some attribute  passage of the amendment to the Constitution to the bravery and sacrifice of the U.S. Colored Troops who won 14 Medals of Honor during the Petersburg  Campaign.