The Compromise of 1850 admitted California to the Union as a free state and allowed the territories of New Mexico and Utah to decide the slavery issue for themselves. This decision laid the groundwork for one of the many roles New Mexico would play as a territory before and during the Civil War. Join Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, professor of history at New Mexico State University, in a presentation about the New Mexico Slave Code, which allowed for African-American slaves in the territory. Although numbering a dozen or fewer at any given time, the legal status of slavery left New Mexico in the center of congressional debates and secession discussions.
The event is part of the museum’s exhibit, Fading Memories: Echoes of the Civil War, which is a collaboration with the Santa Fe Opera’s debut of Cold Mountain this August. Free with admission; Sundays free to NM residents.
Pitcaithley is a history professor at New Mexico State University who retired from the National Park Service in 2005 as its chief historian, a position he held for 10 years. He is a co-editor of The Antiquities Act: A Century of American Archaeology, Historic Preservation, and Nature Conservation (2006) and has contributed chapters to Becoming Historians (2009), Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory (2006), Preserving Western History (2005), Public History and the Environment (2004), Myth, Memory, and the Making of the American Landscape (2001), and Seeing and Being Seen: Tourism in the American West (2001). A recipient of the OAH Distinguished Service Award, he also is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and a recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of North Carolina.