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Slavery and Emancipation

Exhibit: February 12 – March 1, 2013

In association with the Mann Center, the Special Collection Department has put together a display focusing on slavery and emancipation. The display, which features full color reproductions of original documents available in Special Collection illustrates the complicated relationship between religion and slavery, as well as traces Harriet Rembert, a slave, though her time in bondage to her freedom in 1866.

The display also discusses Harry. Harry was the slave of President Talbird who rescued students in the night of the fire of 1854 and died from his injuries. After his death, an obelisk was erected over his grave in Marion, Alabama.


The inscriptions on the faces of the obelisk follow:

  • "Harry, the servant of H. Talbird, D. D., President of Howard College, who lost his life from injuries received while rousing students at the burning of the College building on the night of Oc. 1th, 1854."

  • "He was employed as janitor in the College, and when alarmed by the flames at midnight and warned to escape for his life, replied, 'I must wake the boys first.' Thus saved their lives at the cost of his own."

  • "A consistent member of the Baptist Church, he illustrated the character of the Christian servant, faithful unto death."

  • "As a grateful tribute to his fidelity and to commemorate a noble act, this monument has been erected by the students of Howard College and the Alabama Baptist Convention."

Photo of Dr. Richard Carwardine

The exhibit was designed to accompany the visit of Dr. Richard Carwardine, historian and president of Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, U.K. to campus. Dr. Carwardine will be on campus for the Andrew Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership during which he will present on his lecture "Abraham Lincoln and the Challenge of Emancipation" on the 19th of February. On the day before his lecture, the Mann Center is presenting a panel discussion "'God's Institution' or Gross Injustice: Slavery Before the Civil War," in which Dr. Richard Carwardine, will participate. Dr. Carwardine's book, Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, won the 2004 Lincoln Prize for the best nonfiction work on the Civil War.

Text provided by Rachel Cohen, Special Collection Archivist / User Services Librarian

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