Tuesday, April 21, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Exhibit highlights Benicia’s African-American heritage

african american exhibit, 9/26/12

Elizabeth d'Huart, executive director of the Benicia Historical Museum, talks about the museum's new exhibit marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | September 28, 2012 |

BENICIA — One Solano County town’s African-American roots are on display as the Benicia Historical Museum honors the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Most people don’t realize that California was part of the Civil War, that there were slaves in the state,” said Benicia Historical Museum Executive Director Elizabeth d’Huart.

The exhibit commemorating the proclamation’s 150th anniversary opened Sunday at the Benicia Historical Museum and runs through January 2013.

Although issued as an executive order Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation Sept. 22, 1862, saying that he would order the emancipation of an estimated 3.1 million slaves in states controlled by the Confederacy if the states did not return to Union control by Jan. 1, 1863.

“The proclamation made the abolition of slavery a central goal of the war,” d’Huart said.

The exhibit’s name, “Freedom is a Hard Bought Thing,” was taken from a 1940 magazine short story written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Vincent Benet, who lived at the Benicia Arsenal as a child when his father was commanding officer. The phrase was often quoted by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., d’Huart said.

The exhibit was originally planned for Black History Month in February, but the curators and volunteers could find very little material about African-Americans in early Benicia.

“There was a dearth of material,” d’Huart said. “We found very little pertaining to Benicia.”

Only persistent digging and a lot of help from the community created the exhibit, which ranges from photos of the African-Americans working in the arsenal during World War II to a shackle put on slaves “so that they could not run away undetected,” d’Huart said.

The exhibit will be an evolving thing, according to Curator Beverly Phelan, who said that as more about Benicia’s African-American history comes forward, “we will be adding to the exhibit as we go along.”

That could include information about the Buffalo soldiers, the black cavalry solders who were stationed in or near the Benicia Arsenal some time after the Civil War, Phelan said.

In 1850, Benicia listed only six African-Americans among its population of 480 people, one of whom was slave Adam Willis, who came from Missouri to Benicia with his owner, Singleton Vaughn. Willis also became one of the first free African-Americans in town when he was set free in a Benicia courtroom Sept. 27, 1855.

Another black resident was former Bear Flag veteran Joseph McAfee, who became a barber in Benicia and was part of a Western underground railroad that freed slaves in pre-Civil War California.

Among the artifacts is a Civil War uniform of the kind worn by the black soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War, as well as post-war advertisements such as the one run in local newspapers by Benicia resident and freed slave Marion Willis, trying to find her children, who were taken from her as a slave.

“They published these heartbreaking advertisements all over the country, trying to pull their families back together,” d’Huart said.

Only with World War II and the migration of African-Americans to work at the Benicia Arsenal did Benicia’s black population significantly expand. Even now, Benicia’s black population is small; 1,510 black residents in 2010 among a total population of 26,997 people, according to the U.S. Census.

The museum will host a reading Oct. 14 by author Waights Taylor Jr. from his recently published book, “Our Southern Home — Scottsboro to Montgomery to Birmingham: The Transformation of the South in the Twentieth Century.”

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • antique furniture styleJanuary 26, 2013 - 8:22 am

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Kids Day of Fishing began with $20 donation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Chabad will begin Torah for Solano Jewish community

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Library foundation executive moves to Child Haven

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Theater schedules free screening of Sundance film

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A8

Vacaville plans recreation expo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Frazier to discuss transportation at EDC breakfast

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Fairgrounds site of horse-betting seminar, brunch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

Il Fiorello schedules vegetarian cuisine class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

 
Fairfield police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Lawmakers seek FDA review of ingredients used in cosmetics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
 
Sheriff’s domestic violence-related conviction erased

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Utah woman gets up to life in prison in deaths of 6 newborns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Lawyer: Washington Post reporter in Iran faces 4 charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Bombs shatter houses in Yemen capital, hit near Iran Embassy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Questions, answers about federal anti-radicalization effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Where US sees terror prevention, some Muslims see profiling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Chemistry Ph.D. student illustrates her thesis in comic book

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Public memorial held for the Rev. Robert Schuller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
SC paper wins Pulitzer for reporting on domestic abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

 
Why does Fed insist on targeting inflation?

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Income disparity study results ironic

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11, 22 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 21, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

 
Bobby Brown’s lawyer: Bobbi Kristina Brown has opened eyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

US writer who fled Austria to escape Holocaust dead at 90

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Vice News, NPR, CNN, WNYC win double Peabody Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

HBO planning to deal Web pot sitcom ‘High Maintenance’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Kolbert’s ‘Sixth Extinction’ wins Pulitzer for nonfiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Wolfe’s ‘Anthracite Fields’ wins Pulitzer for music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Anthony Doerr wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Elizabeth A. Fenn wins Pulitzer Prize for history

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Gregory Pardlo’s ‘Digest’ wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

David I. Kertzer wins Pulitzer for biography-autobiography

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Stephen Adly Guirgis wins Pulitzer for drama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Sports

Mustangs rally in seventh inning to top Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
AP source: Peterson stays home from Vikings workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Report: 2 teams needed to make California stadium profitable

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Data deluge: MLB rolls out Statcast analytics on Tuesday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Doug Buffone dead at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New format means injured drivers no longer must race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Saunders: ‘I’m the coach until I say I’m not’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Faldo to make final appearance at British Open this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Braves’ McKirahan suspended 80 games for positive drug test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raptors Lou Williams wins NBA Sixth Man Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Ugly Olympic conflict breaks into open at Sochi conference

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Pacquiao gets in 2 words before conference call cancelled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Eagles sign quarterback Tim Tebow to 1-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McLellan out after 7 years as coach of San Jose Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pelicans coach says Warriors arena noise might be too loud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Police: LA Kings’ Jarret Stoll had cocaine, Ecstasy in Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Desisa wins 119th Boston Marathon; Rotich takes women’s race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jockey Chris Antley leads Racing Hall of Fame class

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

.

Business

Judge returns ultra-rich club founder Tim Blixseth to jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Running out of time: Limited-time deals can be limiting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

$134M proposed for 10 BP-funded oil spill recovery projects

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Hormel says bird flu outbreak will hurt turkey sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bird flu confirmed at Iowa farm with 5.3 million chickens

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US stocks gain, rebounding from Friday’s slump; Hasbro jumps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Survey: US businesses expect sales rebound, more hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bristol-Myers: 2 cancer drugs beat 1 against melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Halliburton says has cut 9,000 jobs in wake of oil’s drop

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: B4

Labor group seeks rehiring of workers at 5 Wal-Mart sites

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Frederick’s of Hollywood files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Willie Nelson becomes latest celebrity in marijuana business

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Kraft Mac & Cheese shedding the dyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

ESPN says Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages violate agreements

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Lawsuit: Southwest failed to respond to medical emergency

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Bridge April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Get Fuzzy April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Peanuts April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

For Better or Worse April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Dilbert April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Sally Forth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Garfield April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
B.C. April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Wizard of Id April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baldo April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Zits April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Pickles April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8