While most discussions of Reconstruction focus on the whole life experiences of African Americans as a people, the unique perspectives and contributions of women are often overlooked or under stated. Women of both races and from diverse backgrounds, played major roles in helping many formerly enslaved African Americans transition to self-sufficient lives during Reconstruction. Through their tireless efforts, they helped to give new meaning to people who had been held for generations in bondage. They worked to assist with education, family, health, and social justice. They helped African Americans learn to live independent of enslavement; they facilitated the material well-being of African Americans as those formerly enslaved people became property owners and employees. They also fought for the enfranchisement of African American men and women.
This exhibition focuses on the lives of 5 such women, from very diverse backgrounds who not only played major roles in helping the formerly enslaved adjust to freedom, but whose contemporary views lend insight into the racial culture of the period.