Heritage Museum & Cultural Center Exhibition Opening: Proclaiming Emancipation

Thursday, February 27 at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center

601 Main St. Saint Joseph 

Free to the public (Suggested $5 donation). Beer & Wine available for purchase.

Book sales managed by Forever Books. Call, email or stop by to purchase one in advance of event.


5:00 - 6:45 PM Exhibition Preview & Cocktail Reception with the 102nd USCT Black History Group

The 102nd USCT/Black History Group was founded in 1986 in response to the Michigan Sesquicentennial Celebration. The group has since participated in a number of reenactments, parades, and ceremonies in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Washington DC, Massachusetts, and Canada. 



7:00 - 8:30 PM Keynote "Pioneers and Patriots: The Hidden Histories of Michigan's Black Founding Citizens" presented by Dr. Anna-lisa Cox

The long-hidden stories of America's black pioneers, the frontier they settled, and their fight for the heart of the nation.

The Bone and Sinew of the Land tells the Griers' story and the stories of many others like them: the lost history of the nation's first Great Migration. In building hundreds of settlements on the frontier, these black pioneers were making a stand for equality and freedom. Their new home, the Northwest Territory--the wild region that would become present-day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin--was the first territory to ban slavery and have equal voting rights for all men. Though forgotten today, in their own time the successes of these pioneers made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and even armed battles soon ensued, tearing apart families and communities long before the Civil War. This groundbreaking work of research reveals America's forgotten frontier, where these settlers were inspired by the belief that all men are created equal and a brighter future was possible.


Anna-Lisa Cox is an award winning historian on the history of racism and race relations in nineteenth-century America. She is a non-resident Fellow at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. She was a recent Research Associate at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture where her original research underpinned two historical exhibits. Click here for the link to the Washington Post's feature article on her exhibit on African-American pioneers.

Dr. Cox has been invited to speak at a variety of institutions and organizations across the United States, from universities to middle schools. Her keynote addresses at annual diversity training sessions for hospitals, banks, and law firms have garnered high praise. Dr. Cox has been invited to teach specially created courses at a number of colleges and institutions including recent seminars at the Newberry Library in Chicago. She is also an historical consultant for museums, historical societies, and documentary film makers.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her research, including a Gilder Lehrman Foundation Fellowship and grants from the Spencer Foundation. Her published works include numerous essays and editorials as well as the books A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith and The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality.





Event date: 
Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 5:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
312 State Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085
The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America's Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality Cover Image
ISBN: 9781610398107
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: PublicAffairs - June 12th, 2018

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