For the Museum of American History, a new trove of African American artifacts
Source: Washington Post
Over 40 years, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, a Los Angeles couple, have acquired every kind of artifact related to the African American experience. In their collection are rare documents, such as a letter from a Union soldier recounting the 1862 murder of slaves in Tennessee and a parade flag of the Buffalo Soldiers. This important and fragile bounty is moving into the National Museum of American History on Oct. 15 in a series of galleries that are a showcase for the planned National Museum of African American History and Culture, to open in 2015.
One letter, written by slaveholder A.M.F. Crawford in 1854, introduces his slave Frances. The letter is stained, but the messages are clear. She is described as “the finest chamber maid I have ever seen in my life, she is a good washer, but at house cleaning she has perfect slight [sic] of hand.” The 17-year-old Frances does not know her fate, but the viewer will probably cry at the clear and attractive handwriting that says “she does not know that she is to be sold.” And Crawford boldly lets the potential buyer know he is using the proceeds for a new stable.