Gipson presents paper exploring the role of African American soldiers during the Civil War

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
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2016-12-15 07:06:46 - General

Briana Gipson
Briana Gipson

Coe College sophomore Briana Gipson recently presented a research paper on the role of African American soldiers during the Civil War at the Midwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities held at Central College in Pella, Iowa. Gipson's research was entitled, "'Hard Won Freedom': Andrew Ford and Struggles for Freedom and Civil Rights Among African-American Civil War Veterans in Cedar Rapids, Iowa."

The idea for the paper came from an assignment in a Civil War History course taught by Coe History Professor Brie Swenson Arnold during the spring 2016 semester. "Briana gave a wonderful presentation and her work received glowing feedback from the audience," said Swenson Arnold.

Using Ford as a case study, Gipson's research explored the contributions of African Americans to the Civil War and the emancipation. Audience members encouraged Gipson to pursue publication in the near future and were specifically impressed with the structure of her paper.

"Emancipation was a collective effort that consisted of many actors; and among them were African American soldiers, who do not often get the attention they deserve, and it is time for a change," said Gipson. "Former slaves, particularly the ones who showed up to Union lines, were the ones who were the most responsible for emancipation, and they made their significant contributions alongside the other thousands of brave actors."

This was Gipson's first time presenting a paper at a college-level educational conference, and she felt the experience was quite rewarding.

"I had an absolutely amazing time presenting! I was impressed that my messages were actually being heard by those who attended as they asked me tons of questions and expressed significant interest in Ford and the topics covered. I wish I could do it all over again," said Gipson.

The travel expenses to and from the conference were generously supported by the Coe College Office of the Provost.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.