“Battleground America” is a combination onsite and online exhibit which focuses on the case study of the Robinson Family, an African American family living on the grounds that would become Manassas Battlefield.
The Robinson's farm would become the site of the first and second Battles of Manassas. But the Robinsons were battling for a place in society long before war came to their fields. Their lives before, during and after the Civil War reveal the varied tactics used by African Americans to survive and thrive in America during the nineteenth century.
Before the Emancipation Proclamation the Robinson Family was a combination of slave and free. James Robinson had been manumitted as a child, but his wife Sarah and their eight children were still in bondage. Struggling to secure the safety and freedom of his family, establish himself as a land owner, and become a respected member of the community, the story of James Robinson and his family reveals some of the strategies which African Americans used to survive and thrive in the nineteenth century South.