Jeff Kannel discusses Make Way for Liberty: Wisconsin African Americans in the Civil War

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Beloit Public Library 605 Eclipse Blvd Beloit, WI 53511
@ 10:00 am

The Wisconsin Historical Society Speakers Bureau offers an exciting opportunity for our historians, curators and authors to visit your community and share the stories of our great state.

Based on ten years of research, Make Way for Liberty documents the stories of nearly 700 African American men who served with the Union Army and Navy representing Wisconsin in the Civil War. Information was gathered from more than 20 libraries and museums in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives, and the National Archives in Washington, DC. The book tells how the future soldiers arrived in the state, how they joined the Union Army, and what their military experiences were in the fight to restore the Union and to end enslavement. In the post-war years, the encountered a mix of acceptance and respect for their military service but frequent rejection and discrimination because of their race.


Jeff Kannel
Photo of Jeff Kannel holding his new book “Make Way for Liberty”

Wauwatosa resident Jeff Kannel is a retired physical therapist and educator. He was a tour guide at the Civil War Museum in Kenosha from 2011 to 2020. An active speaker on this topic, he is also co-author (with Victoria Tashjian) of “Henry Sink: Settler, Soldier, Citizen” for the Wisconsin Magazine of History.