In Their Own Words: 1st Sgt. John Carter, 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry (1897)

1st Sgt. John Carter, member of Company F, First Kansas Colored Infantry (later the 79th U. S. Colored Infantry)1, and Fort Pillow Post No. 321, Grand Army of the Republic, reflects back on the Engagement at Poison Springs, Ouachita County, Arkansas, April 18, 1864.

1st Sgt. John Carter, Company F, 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry. Date Unknown

Brooklyn, New York: Seeking freedom, Robert M. Phinney of Weeksville

Map showing the location of Weeksville and Crow Hill, early 19th-century African American communities in Brooklyn, New York. Source: Sidney’s map of twelve miles around New-York : with the names of property holders, &c., from entirely new & original surveys (1849). New York Public Library

Robert M. Phinney (alias Finney), was born enslaved, about 1818, in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina. In the 1840s, he escaped slavery via the maritime Underground Railroad, and eventually settled in Weeksville, Brooklyn, New York. Weeksville was established shortly after New York abolished slavery in 1827. The community was named after James Weeks, a longshoreman and one of the earliest African American landowners in the area. Weeksville has been featured in recent publications, as longterm efforts to preserve the history of the site are threatened by a lack of funding and other resources.1

Portsmouth, Virginia: United States Colored Troops, Grove Baptist Church Cemetery

Photos: Nadia K. Orton, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2018. All rights reserved.

The headstones of United States Colored Troops interred in Grove Baptist Church cemetery have been cleaned up, though none were reset. The grave cleaning came in the midst of a renovation project of Grove Church’s parking lot.

U. S. Colored Troops, Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, May 24, 2014.
Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, March 11, 2018. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.