Historian Dr. Frank Smith discusses the United States Colored Troops at Tryon Palace

Historian Dr. Frank Smith, Ph.D. will discuss the legacy of the United States Colored Troops in the American Civil War during Tryon Palace African American Lecture. This free lecture is Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m. inside Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center. 

Smith laid the groundwork for establishing a national memorial for African American troops who served in the Civil War in Washington, D.C., and oversaw the dedication of the African American Civil War Memorial in July 1998.

Though some African-American units were raised and participated in the war prior to this, President Abraham Lincoln did not authorize the use of black soldiers in combat until 1863, following the Emancipation Proclamation. The Bureau of Colored Troops was established by the United States War Department in May, 1863, and was responsible for recruiting African-American soldiers to fight. About 175 regiments composed of 178,000 African-American troops served the Union in the final two years of the Civil War.

The Tryon Palace African American Lecture Series offers a free, new program on the third Thursday of each month. All performances begin at 7 p.m. in Cullman Performance Hall and are free with support from the Tryon Palace Foundation. Special hearing devices are available if needed. Contact Tryon Palace 48 hours in advance of the performance to make arrangements.