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Towards Freedom

African American Business Owners in the Cartersville Downtown District, 1870-1940


Towards Freedom focuses on the first African American business owners in the downtown district of Cartersville, Georgia, from 1870-1940. The images included in this exhibit provide a view into Black life following the end of the Civil War. 


After Emancipation, African Americans entered society with new freedoms. Some set out in search of family members that had been separated in slavery. Some migrated north or west in search of better opportunities. Some continued to work the land. Others became entrepreneurs by creating a profit from the skills they once used while they were enslaved. Towards Freedom allows us to explore economic development in the Black community, as well as the community relationships that grew from and supported this development.


We hope that Towards Freedom prompts deeper conversations, questions, and understandings of the complex nature and legacy of slavery, Emancipation, and Reconstruction. 

Towards Freedom is currently on display at the Cartersville Train Depot until June 2020, courtesy of Etowah Bush School.

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