Sally Walker Davies 2017-01-11 02:25:49
my TENNESSEE Most people know GEORGE SMITH as “Doctor”— after all, he’s been practicing family medicine in Murfreesboro since 1979—but really, he’s also a living historian. A bona fide history buff, Smith’s journey to Civil War reenactor began when tracing his own family’s history. Digging through public and military records, Smith discovered an ancestor who served in the Army, which led him to the records of the 13th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops. “I didn’t know diddly about them,” he says. So he delved further, and from that day on, he was hooked. In 2001, Smith became a founding member of a group of reenactors who portray the members of the 13th Regiment; he also is a founding member of the United States Colored Troops Living History Association. “Every time I put on the uniform, I am recognizing the struggle for freedom over 200 years of enslavement,” says Smith, who admits that many African Americans had found the reenactments that included the Colored Troops to be upsetting. But he says there is a growing interest within the African- American community to tell the stories of and honor the freed slaves turned soldiers. “We need to celebrate those who overcame it,” he says.
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