Today we spotlight one of the most requested documents on DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents. It’s a Civil War recruitment poster titled “To Colored Men!”
After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the U.S. Army began recruiting black men in earnest to fight for the Union Army. The Confederate government regarded captured black soldiers as fugitive slaves, not prisoners of war. It threatened to execute or sell them into slavery. This broadside reassured potential black recruits that the U.S. Government would treat all of its troops as soldiers and retaliate in the event of Confederate mistreatment of black U.S. soldiers.
“To Colored Men!,” ca. 1861–1865, is held in the Records of the Adjutant General’s Office at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
You can use it in the activity Comparing Civil War Recruitment Posters on DocsTeach. Students will compare and contrast it with another military recruitment poster from the Civil War to analyze various perspectives regarding the role of African Americans.