Voices from the Past
United States Colored Troops in the Civil War
Bring an engaging living history
presentation by master storyteller Willis Phelps to your
school or community group. Mr. Phelps portrays Private James
Elbert, a Civil War USCT soldier buried at Polktown’s African
Union Church Cemetery.
Voices of the Past shares the story of the once-forgotten
cemetery and the local United States Colored
Troops buried there. Living historian and storyteller Willis
Phelps brings to life Private James Elbert, who served with the
USCT during the Civil War and was nearly executed for
desertion only to be found innocent.
Accompanied by a
facilitator that sets the stage for his presentation, the
program is tailored for school children or the general public.
The student version includes hands-on experience with
archival documents that help to piece together the story of
these men and the cemetery, and teachers are also provided
post-visit classroom activities facilitating actual use of the
historic documents on a sort of ‘history scavenger hunt’.
The program is appropriate for and available to both
schools and community groups and is funded courtesy of
State of Delaware Grant in Aid. Reviews of the program are
outstanding and it is a unique opportunity to see ‘where
history comes from’ by being able to actually handle copies of
19th century military records, pension records and the like.
The presentation lasts approximately
an hour and can be tailored to all ages, facilities, and
group sizes. School presentations include links to pre-and
post-presentation activities as well as relevance to state
This program is generously funded
through State of Delaware Grant-in-Aid, though donations
of all sizes are welcome
Come and See Our Program!
Are you interested in presenting
this program to your group?
Fill out the form below and our program
director will contact you to discuss our programs.
When you are finished, answer the
little math problem at the end of the form and press the