Dr. Arlisha Norwood, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, is shedding light on Black women in freedom as a part of C-SPAN’s “Lectures in History” series.

Dr. Arlisha Norwood

Norwood’s focus of study is on single Black women in Virginia. Her lecture was filmed Feb. 7 in a classroom on this historically Black university’s campus as the series “takes viewers ‘back to school’ for a one-day visit to a university professor’s classroom.” Dr. Norwood’s lecture will delve into Black women in freedom including reconstruction, Black women in the home place, Black widows and Black women divorcees from 1865-1870.

“Freedom is supposed to be this jubilee moment and we see that for some it brings a new set of problems,” Norwood says about the complexities of challenges Black women faced in this period. “It’s important to look at how Black women navigated freedom in this time.”

Her lecture will also include information on Polly Jennings, a formerly enslaved Black woman, who lived and worked as a free woman on a plantation and is faced with a grim situation.

“Reconstruction was a time where we could have gotten everything right. Political parties of that period and power structures dropped the ball,” she said about the correlation of our systems and society today to the early implementation of these systems and African Americans’ continued fight for rights and freedoms.

Norwood points to similarities between present day and history for her students. “My goal is to get you to see yourself in history,” she said. “There’s nothing new in history.”

The UMES faculty member recognized the importance of Black History Month and what she hopes people gain from the month of celebration and her lecture saying, “We have to continue to fight and continue to educate people.”

Norwood’s lecture titled “Black Women During the Civil War & Reconstruction” will air Feb. 25 at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 8 p.m., and 11 p.m. on C-SPAN 2.

By Tahja Cropper

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