December 22, 2016 Nicole

Freedom Cover

Freedom: A History of US

From January 9 - February 5, an exhibit honoring critical figures and events surrounding the evolving concept of freedom will be on display at the Delaware Main Library. "Freedom: A History of US" is a traveling exhibition, on loan to the Delaware County District Library from the Gilder Lehrman Institute

A special open house will take place on Martin Luther King Day, January 16, from 2 - 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served. 


The exhibition marks the first public display of many personal letters, documents, and broadsides. Among the highlights are reproductions and reprints of: a rare 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence, a secretly printed draft and official copy of the US Constitution, Lincoln’s handwritten notes of speeches, and letters by leading figures such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King. Some of the more poignant descriptions of the meaning of freedom to the common man are found in the personal letters of Civil War soldiers, which speak to the pain and pride of fighting for national ideals.

The Bloody Massacre


In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson based the colonists’ right to separate on the King’s denial of their freedom—their “inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Yet for over 225 years, the principle of freedom and our understanding of its implications have evolved. The debates, decisions, and battles of our past shape the United States in which we live today.

The exhibition invites the modern-day viewer into the lives of the men and women who forged this nation, whether they arrived in this land by choice or in chains. Their words and images provide insight into the complexity of the past. Documents and photographs from the Civil War, a pivotal period in the nation’s history, will illustrate how Americans succeeded in redefining the meaning of freedom.

We hope that the legacy of their struggle will resonate for Americans as they face the challenges of today and of the future.

The exhibit is organized in five thematic sections: The Founding Era; A Young Republic; A Nation Dividing: The Firestorm in the Night; The Civil War and Epilogue. Read about all the pieces featured in the exhibit. 

Freedom A History of US The Boisterous Sea of Liberty Race and Reunion The Story of American Freedom

Reading/Viewing Recommendations

Slavery and the Making of America documentary

Slavery and the Making of America by James Oliver and Lois E Horton

Freedom: A History of US by Joy Hakim

The Boisterous Sea of Liberty by David Brion Davis and Steven Mintz

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David Blight

The Story of American Freedom by Eric Foner

The King Years Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Founding Scripture Failure is Impossible


The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement by Taylor Branch

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself: A New Critical Edition by Frederick Douglass

Douglass and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader and a Reluctant Liberator Struggled to End Slavery and Save the Union by Paul Kendrick

Founding Fathers: The Fight for Freedom and the Birth of America by K.M. Kostyal

American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence by Pauline Maier

All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery by Henry Mayer

Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress by William Lee Miller

Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words by Lynn Sherr

I Am Abraham The Invention of Wings Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray Chasing the North Star


I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War by Jerome Charyn

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed by Bradley Greenburg

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray: A Novel by Dorothy Love

The Mapmaker's Children: A Novel by Sarah McCoy

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr. 

The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

The Abolitionists Eyes on the Prize


The Abolitionists

Abraham Lincoln: Preserving the Union

The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns

Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years

Founding Brothers


Gilder Lehrman Institute

Freedom: A History of US