A Division of William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Fire and Thunder: Massachusetts Blacks in the Civil War

State police officer and a member of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Re-Enactors.Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin.Beverly Morgan-Welch, Executive Director of the Museum of African American History.Processing Archivist Mark Vassar giving a tour to members of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Re-Enactors.Members of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Re-Enactors raising the colors.Assistant State Archivist Michael Comeau, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin, and Governor Deval Patrick.Governor Deval Patrick.Massachusetts Archives reading room.Guests viewing the exhibit.Patriot Room at the Massachusetts Archives.Patriot Room at the Massachusetts Archives.


Despite unequal pay and treatment Massachusetts African Americans played a large role during the Civil War, in the Army, Navy, and on the home-front. In various ways blacks in the Commonwealth stepped forward and helped change the course of history. This exhibit tells the story of their courage, strength, and sacrifice; a story of the quest for a nation free from slavery.

View the web version of this exhibit.