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Lecture on Black Troops in Civil War Wed.

Historian and author to hold talk through Macculloch Hall Historical Museum.

For "Black History Month," Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is bringing "Freedom to All."

That is the name of the talk by Joe Bilby, historian and author, who will hold the lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the Cincinnati Masonic Lodge No. 3, 39 Maple Ave.

The press release is below.

On Wednesday February 22nd Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is pleased to welcome speaker Joe Bilby in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibit “Gone for a Soldier:” Jerseymen in the Civil War.  

Presented in partnership with the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee this new exhibit brings together for the first time about two hundred objects from the Civil War from nearly thirty museums, historical societies, and private collections. Each month through June the Museum is presenting a lecture relating to the exhibit. All lectures start at 7 p.m. with tickets available from 6:30 p.m. and are held at the Cincinnati Masonic Lodge No. 3, 39 Maple Avenue (one block from the museum).

This February, during Black History Month, Mr. Bilby will present “Freedom to All,” NJ Black Troops in the Civil War. Based on the book by the same name, this lecture details the story of the state’s black soldiers in the Civil War. The talk also addresses African-American military service in New Jersey before and after the conflict, from Revolutionary War militiamen to the state’s segregated First Separate Militia Battalion of the 1930s and the post-World War II New Jersey National Guard, which in 1948 led the nation in integrating its military force. Most Civil War African-American New Jersey soldiers served in the regiments of the United States Colored Troops organized at Camp William Penn outside Philadelphia. Perhaps the most famous of these regiments was the 22nd United States Colored Infantry. This valiant unit broke the Confederate line at Petersburg in June 1864, fought through the siege of Petersburg, was one of the first Union units to enter Richmond, marched in President Lincoln’s funeral parade in Washington, participated in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and served on occupation and border guard duty in Texas before returning home for discharge in the fall of 1865. Bilby relates the histories of the Camp William Penn regiments with large numbers of Jerseymen in their ranks, as well as the stories of individual members of those units. 

Mr. Bilby is the author or editor of thirteen other books on New Jersey and Civil War history.  He received his BA and MA degrees in history from Seton Hall University and served as a lieutenant in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966-1967. Retired from a position as Supervising Investigator at the New Jersey Department of Labor, Bilby currently works part time as assistant curator of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt. He is a member and publications editor of the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. Mr. Bilby will be available to sell and sign books after the lecture. 

Tickets for the lectures are Adults $8, Seniors $6, Students (over 12 years) $6. Members of the Museum will receive a $2 discount for these special programs. Memberships can be purchased at the door. Cash or check only please. Ticket holders to the museum exhibit will receive a $2 discount to the lectures with proof of admission; lecture ticket holders may also receive a $2 discount on a museum exhibit visit. See ticket desk for details. On the evenings of the Civil War Lecture Series the Museum will have extended exhibit hours from 1pm - 6:30pm. “Gone for a Soldier” is on display Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons through July 1st 2012.

For information, call the Museum weekdays at (973) 538-2404 ext 10, visit our website www.maccullochhall.org or find us on Facebook.

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