The York Civil War Round Table will feature author and historian Debra Sandoe McCauslin at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 15, 2012. The topic of the evening will be “Echoes from the Past: African-American Voices at Gettysburg.”
Little has been mentioned about the role of African Americans in Gettysburg’s history. Their contributions were significant during the war as well as before and after the war. This lecture will discuss Francis Scott Key’s manumission of his slave, Clem Johnson; Lydia Hamilton Smith; the kidnapping of former slave, Kitty Payne; the role of several African Americans during the battle; Frederick Douglass’s 1869 Gettysburg visit; veterans and citizens buried in Lincoln cemetery; and other African Americans who lived in and around Gettysburg.
Every year thousands visit Gettysburg, home of the famous battlefield and the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln uttered the immortal words that gave the battle a higher meaning. Now hear the story from the point of view of local people of color whose lives were changed by these momentous events.
Debra Sandoe McCauslin is a lifelong resident of Adams County, Pennsylvania. She was born in Gettysburg and spent her childhood in the Biglerville area working on her grandfather’s fruit farm. She attended York College of Pennsylvania and Harrisburg Area Community College. She has recently retired after working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 31 plus years.
Debra is a descendant of George Washington Sandoe, who was the first to fall at Gettysburg during the Civil War in 1863. Debra has researched his life and death and presents historical programs using PowerPoint software.
She spent five years producing a documentary film called Adams County USA for the Adams County Historical Society and Adams Community Television.
In January of 2005, Debra created a new business called For The Cause Productions where she will provide educational programs related to Gettysburg. Portions of her proceeds will be donated to the Yellow Hill Cemetery Project to restore an abandoned cemetery in Adams County Pennsylvania where two veterans of the US Colored Troops were buried.
She has written a book called Reconstructing the Past: Puzzle of a Lost Community. The book is based on her original research and is about a forgotten African American community that lived near Biglerville on Yellow Hill during the 1800’s. This community was believed to have been involved with the Underground Railroad.
She is an instructor at the Harrisburg Area Community College( Gettysburg Campus) teaching non-credit, history-related courses.
The roundtable meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening at York County Heritage Trust at 250 E. Market St. in downtown York, Pennsylvania.
There is no charge for admission and the public is welcome! Bring a friend!