Help Transcribe Military Records
of Black Volunteer Union Soldiers in the Civil War
“Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pockets, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.”
–- Frederick Douglass
In lieu of an in-person MLK Day of Service project due to ongoing concerns around COVID-19, the Washington Bar Association is pleased to present an amazing opportunity to participate in a virtual service project through the National Archives Citizen Archivist Program.
Despite many hardships, Black volunteer soldiers served and distinguished themselves during the Civil War as part of the Union Army. By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 Black men (approximately 10% of the Union Army) served as soldiers. Black women, who could not formally join the Army, nonetheless served as nurses, spies, and scouts, the most famous being Harriet Tubman.
The National Archives has curated a collection of the military records of Black soldiers who volunteered to serve during the Civil War. These handwritten records require transcription to make them more accessible and searchable.
Members and friends of the WBA seeking a virtual way to participate in the MLK Day of Service.
Help the National Archives transcribe the military service records of Union volunteer soldiers who served during the Civil War, making them more accessible and searchable.
MLK Day of Service – Monday, January 17, 2022 – All Day
Online at: https://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/registerandgetstarted
Transcribing these handwritten records helps us increase their accessibility by making them easier to read, search for, and use the information they contain. By transcribing these documents, we help unlock valuable history. Even if you can’t complete the entire transcription of a document, every word you transcribe helps improve search results. Whether you can transcribe one full record, only part of a record, or multiple records—every contribution matters.
Register as a Citizen Archivist at the link provided above, and familiarize yourself with the transcription process using the resources available on the National Archives website (a “how to” booklet is available online and at the link below). Next, click here to access the “United States Colored Troops” – American Civil War mission. Select an available record, click “View/Add Contributions” then click “Transcribe”.