The Friends of the

African Union Church Cemetery


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African Union Church Cemetery Program

Voices from the Past
United States Colored Troops in the Civil War

Bring an engaging living history presentation by master storyteller Willis Phelps to your school or community group. Mr. Phelps portrays Private James Elbert, a Civil War USCT soldier buried at Polktown’s African Union Church Cemetery.

Voices of the Past shares the story of the once-forgotten cemetery and the local United States Colored Troops buried there. Living historian and storyteller Willis Phelps brings to life Private James Elbert, who served with the USCT during the Civil War and was nearly executed for desertion only to be found innocent.

Accompanied by a facilitator that sets the stage for his presentation, the program is tailored for school children or the general public. The student version includes hands-on experience with archival documents that help to piece together the story of these men and the cemetery, and teachers are also provided post-visit classroom activities facilitating actual use of the historic documents on a sort of ‘history scavenger hunt’. !

The program is appropriate for and available to both schools and community groups and is funded courtesy of State of Delaware Grant in Aid. Reviews of the program are outstanding and it is a unique opportunity to see ‘where history comes from’ by being able to actually handle copies of 19th century military records, pension records and the like.

The presentation lasts approximately an hour and can be tailored to all ages, facilities, and group sizes. School presentations include links to pre-and post-presentation activities as well as relevance to state education standards.

This program is generously funded through State of Delaware Grant-in-Aid, though donations of all sizes are welcome

Does your group want to present our program?

Are you interested in presenting this program to your group?

Click the link below to send us an email with your contact information and info about your group.

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The African Union Church Cemetery