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What Does Freedom Mean to You?
Calling all teenage film makers, poets, and photographers! The National Park Service, in partnership with the National Park Foundation’s African American Experience Fund, today launched Expressions of Freedom, a nationwide artistic competition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Student Art Contest Commemorates 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
Contest submissions will be accepted from students 13 to 18 years old in three categories – photography, poetry, and digital short films. The first-place winner in each category will receive a $2,500 academic scholarship and the second-place winner will receive a $1,000 academic scholarship. The deadline for entries is October 15, 2012. Details are available at http://www.nps.gov/freedom.
“The issue that was at the heart of the Civil War – the continual struggle for equality for all – remains relevant today,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “This contest encourages young people to reflect on their own personal meanings of freedom and creatively express those thoughts.”
Expressions of Freedom is designed to connect student artists to the significance of the American Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the system of national parks that commemorate events associated with the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.
Following the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington DC into the mountains of Cumberland, Maryland, the C&O Canal operated for nearly a century as a vital transportation route from east to west. During the Civil War another significant transportation route would transverse the canal, moving from south to north, this route was the Underground Railroad. Over time escape routes crossed the “mighty stream” in Western Maryland, as the Potomac River and the C&O Canal were the last physical barriers before reaching freedom at the Mason-Dixon Line. Though details are sparse, the canal and its towpath served as an escape route for many runaways as they traveled from slave states in the south, such as Virginia and Maryland, to freedom in the north at Pennsylvania and beyond, along the way dreaming of freedom.
The Potomac River served as a dividing line between the Union and Confederate armies, making the canal strategically important to both sides. Union forces protected the canal and used it for transportation purposes, moving troops, coal, and war supplies. Confederate forces tried to damage canal structures and boat traffic, in order to slow or halt the progression of supplies. Due to its significant location, the canal became the subject of many raids by famous confederate cavalrymen such as Jeb Stuart and John Mosby.
The people who worked on the C&O Canal were also affected by the war. Many boatmen and lock tenders left their families and duties on the canal behind as they joined sides and fought against former friends and neighbors. For those that remained on the canal, life presented uncertainty and danger as war raged all around. Canal operations became increasingly difficult as several structures were damaged, making sections of the canal impassable. Others faced challenges to operation as their mules teams were taken for the war efforts of both the North and the South, and canal boats were damaged or in some cases destroyed.