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)