June 21, 2018
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NM Museum Hosts National Exhibit "Free At Last: A History Of The Abolition Of Slavery"

 New Mexico State Monuments

Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner




Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery 


Santa Fe, NM -The Fort Sumner/Bosque Redondo Memorial will present the national touring panel exhibition, Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery in America. The exhibition draws visitors into an interaction with the history of the abolition movement through the end of slavery, offering the chance to consider racism in America today through the lens of its complex historical context.  The exhibition will run from April 17th to May 11th.  Special programming for children and adults will be presented at the monument during the duration of the exhibition.


Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery in America investigates the question of how slavery in America developed into an institution, and how it came to be condemned as it divided the nation during the Civil War. Visitors can explore an early fragment of Abraham Lincoln's "House Divided" speech, letters by abolitionists and slaves, and personal letters from soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Views of these rare documents, previously unavailable to the public nationally, are accompanied by photographs, broadsides, and other images, give a rare opportunity for adults and youth alike to experience the abolition of slavery and contemplate the challenging legacy of slavery in America.


The exhibition focuses on the Founding Era, Slave Resistance, Slavery and the Law, Abolition, Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation, and African Americans in the Civil War. Curated by David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, and James Oliver Horton, Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies at George Washington University, this national touring exhibition is made possible by funding from the Gilder Lehrman Institute, with additional support from the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts.


The exhibition was organized by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History whose mission is to actively promote the study and love of American history. The Institute serves teachers, students, scholars, and the general public in creating history-centered schools, organizing seminars and programs for educators, producing print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions, sponsoring lectures by eminent historians, and administering a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state.  The Institute awards the Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and George Washington Book Prizes, and offers fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection. The Institute maintains two award-winning websites, www.gilderlehrman.org and the quarterly online journal www.historynow.org.


Known from 1863-1868 as the Bosque Redondo Reservation, this site represents a tragic history. As settlers came to the New Mexico Territory, they met resistance from Native people.  In 1863 the U.S. Army forced hundreds of Mescalero Apache and thousands of Navajo people to march into captivity. The 450-mile march across New Mexico from their native lands to the Bosque Redondo Indian Reservation is known by the Navajo as "The Long Walk".  The reservation was known as H'weeldi, meaning place of suffering.  The "Forced Walk" by the Mescalero Apache people ended when they eluded guards in 1865. For the Navajo people, three years passed and many died before they returned to their homelands after the Treaty of 1868 acknowledged Navajo sovereignty. The memorial includes interpretive exhibitions, a learning center and interpretive trail.


"Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner State Monument provides a special venue for this exhibit," states Ernesto Ortega, Director of New Mexico State Monuments.  "The internment of Navajos and Mescalero Apaches in the Bosque Redondo Reservation is not unlike the enslavement of African-Americans in our country.  Free at Last serves as a perfect metaphor as we interpret man's inhumanity towards man at this state monument."






Directions: Highway 60/84, 3 miles east of the village of Fort Sumner, then south 3.5 miles to 3647 Billy the Kid Road. For more information the public may call 575-355-2573 or www.nmmonuments.org.


Media Contacts:

Steve Cantrell, PR Manager


505-310-3539 - cell



Angie Manning, Monument Manager



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