News release from the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum:
Karpeles Museum, Abolition of Slavery
After the Three Rivers Parade
A special encampment of the 30th Indiana Civil War Re-enactment, Inc., will take place after the Three Rivers Parade on July 9th, 2011 at the The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum 3039 Piqua, just off Calhoun Street in Fort Wayne. The public is encouraged to come out and visit with members of the 30th and tour the museum exhibits at no charge.
The Karpeles currently features a powerful exhibit entitled “Abolition of Slavery.” The documents and artifacts on display are all related to the fight against slavery and the struggle for human and civil rights in the United States and abroad. The exhibit is modest but extraordinary, consisting of hand-forged iron wrist and leg shackles intended for African slaves as well as a plethora of documents dealing with the international effort to outlaw the slave trade.
Spend some time with the documents and you’ll get a glimpse into the minds of bureaucrats who were growing increasingly frustrated with the slave trade. One document in this collection is an agreement between Great Britain and Spain calling for “the more effectual prevention of the slave trade.” This document states that ships need not have slaves aboard in order to be in violation of the law. “Having on board a suspicious amount of water vessels, shackles, bolts, or handcuffs” is also reason enough for the ship to be seized.
The highlights of the collection are pages from original manuscripts that changed the course of history by playing a part in the American Civil Rights movement. The exhibit includes one of only 14 surviving pages of the original manuscript of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, as well as pages from Alex Haley’s original manuscript of Roots. Finally, the exhibit features Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s handwritten notes on the “we shall overcome” speech – standing in the presence of that document is a powerful experience.
A special exhibit of period clothing and home life is also available during the month of July. Visitors will get a glimpse into the furnishings, clothing, and life of the people of the United States during the 1850’s and 1860’s.
The Karpeles Museum is part of the national chain of museums located across the United States. The Museums exhibit the contents of the largest privately held collection of the documents and manuscripts related to a variety of political, artistic, scientific, and social topics. The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10-4. All exhibits are presented free of charge..