RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In honor of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, starting Feb. 10, the American Civil War Museum is releasing a new exhibit called the “Peake Series” honoring Mary S. Peake.
This virtual exhibit highlights several key Civil War stories - along with lesser-known stories of the Civil War - with a fresh perspective.
“The story of Mary Peake is compelling in part because it is a diverse story,” said Education Programs Manager at the American Civil War Museum, Joseph Rogers.
“She spent the last years of her life dedicated to teaching children and we couldn’t think of anybody else more deserving,” said Rogers.
The virtual series highlights Peake who was born free but was denied access to the classroom after the age of 16. She then risked her own freedom as she began secretly teaching free and enslaved African Americans to read and write.
“She thought that was so important that even when it was illegal, she took that time to dedicate herself to it,” said Roger.
Peake later became known for starting a school for the children of former slaves in the summer of 1861. It was a makeshift outdoor classroom that provided the foundation of what would become Hampton University.
Rogers says its stories like Peake, that shows strength, empowerment and perseverance that needs to be told.
“It allows us to talk about women’s roles, it allows us to talk about African American and free people of color,” said Rogers.
He said he wants students to be able to see stories that represent themselves and know the Civil War Era isn’t confined to those years.
“The story of the American Civil War is a Black story. It is an American story and it is a Black story,” said Rogers.
This event is completely free to educators and students. For more information on how to register, click here.
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