>Darke County, African Americans, and the Civil War

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Are you tired of sitting on the couch on Sunday afternoons? Would you like to get out and learn something new? If so, here’s a great opportunity.

On Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm, the Garst Museum will present the third in a series of lectures open to the public. Mr. Roane Smothers will be the speaker. Roane will share stories of African Americans from the Longtown area and Darke County who left to fight in the Civil War.

Longtown was a predominantly African American settlement in Darke County that included people of African, European, and American Indian ancestry. The population included many freed or runaway slaves. With the establishment of a vocational school known as the Union Literary Institute, Longtown created an opportunity for African Americans to become land-owning farmers, craftsmen, skilled workers and professionals during a period when slavery and racism were prevalent.

Genealogy as a hobby led Roane to trace his mother’s roots. He stated, “She was born and raised in Richmond, Indiana, however her father’s family was from Longtown. From that research, I learned about the history of Longtown. In the belief that the history of Longtown was important American History, I nominated the James and Sophia Clemens Farmstead to the National Register of Historic Places and to the National Park Service’s ‘Network to Freedom Program,’ as an Underground Railroad Site.”

All lectures are free and open to the public. Support for the Garst Lecture series comes, in part, from the Ami McClurkin Community Foundation that is administered by the HOPE Foundation of Darke County.

The Garst Museum is located at: 205 N. Broadway, Greenville, OH 45331, 937-548-5250, web site: www.garstmuseum.org, email: information@garstmuseum.org.

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