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The Civil War and Reconstruction

Was I Born for This? North Carolina Slave Voices, a talk given by Lucinda MacKethan, Professor of English Emerita, North Carolina State University


MacKethan discusses the way in which African American writers in the 19th century fought against slavery and racism using the power of the written word. She includes the narratives of Harriet Jacobs, Moses Roper, and Lunsford Lane and the poetry of George Moses Horton. Approximate run time: 1 hour 2 minutes.






Ku-Klux and the Birth of the Klan, a conversation with Elaine Frantz, professor of American history, Kent State University


Six former Confederate soldiers organized a social club in 1866. It would become one of the most notorious white-supremacy groups in modern history. Frantz lends her historical insights by examining this group—based in the South yet influenced by northern culture and newspaper coverage. Approximate run time: 32 minutes.






Civil War Courts-Martial of North Carolina Troops, a discussion with author and researcher Aldo Perry


During the Civil War, soldiers from North Carolina were sentenced to death in greater numbers than soldiers from any other Confederate state. In his book, Civil War Courts-Martial of North Carolina Troops, Perry has examined the service records of 450 North Carolina soldiers and discovered some little-known facts about discipline during the Civil War. Approximate run time: 26 minutes.






Civil War Refugees and the Struggle for Freedom, a talk by Chandra Manning, associate professor of History at Georgetown University, about her new book, "Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War."


Manning discusses how enslaved people escaped to Union-held territory during the Civil War and the system of refugee camps that were established. 






Abraham Lincoln and a House Divided, a lecture by Sanford Kessler, North Carolina State University


Professor Kessler uses Abraham Lincoln’s famous 1858 “House Divided” speech to unravel Lincoln’s political and personal views on slavery. Approximate run time: 53 minutes.






Albion Tourgee, Thomas Dixon, and Memory of Reconstruction, a talk by Mark Elliott, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


As part of a symposium commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Professor Elliott compares the lasting legacy and influences of two influential writers of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Both men struggled to shape an image of the South and Reconstruction—one of emancipation and realism and another of Southern honor and occupation. Approximate run time: 32 minutes.






Charles Chesnutt and Questions of Race in American Fiction, a conversation with Charles S. Duncan, professor of English, William Peace University


Charles Chesnutt was the first major African American fiction writer who tackled the issue of race as a realist. Writing with complexity, irony, and personal insight, his work maintains its relevancy for today’s readers. Approximate run time: 31 minutes.






The Confederate Secret Services, a conversation with W. Patrick Lang, novelist, retired U.S. Army colonel, and military intelligence consultant


Patrick Lang discusses his two novels, The Butcher’s Cleaver and Death Piled Hard, both of which focus on Claude Devereux, a Virginia banker who is recruited by the Confederate secret service and placed in the office of Union secretary of war Edwin Stanton. Approximate run time: 24 minutes.






Correspondent Lines: Poetry and Journalism in the U.S. Civil War, a Perspectives on History lecture by Eliza C. Richards, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Professor Richards discusses how new technologies influenced literary and journalistic accounts of the Civil War, changing Americans’ reactions to the news and the war itself. Approximate run time: 53 minutes






Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery, a Lincoln Symposium lecture by Loren Schweninger, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Professor Schweninger sheds light on the relationship between Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and how that relationship influenced Lincoln’s views on slavery. Fifth of six lectures. Approximate run time: 26 minutes.






History of the Emancipation Proclamation, an interview with Bruce Bustard, senior exhibits curator, National Archives and Records Administration Bustard


Bruce Bustard discusses the history of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln’s gradual evolution of thought about issuing the Proclamation, and the pursuit of a 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. Approximate run time: 30 minutes.






Intelligence in the Civil War, a conversation with Clay Laurie, a historian at the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence and a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Both the North and the South used intelligence, espionage, and reconnaissance to gather information. Dr. Clay Laurie discusses the role, impact, and development of military intelligence during the American Civil War. Approximate run time: 26 minutes.






Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederacy: A Comparison, a Lincoln Symposium lecture by Paul D. Escott, Wake Forest University


Professor Escott compares the political and leadership styles of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Second of six lectures. Approximate run time: 56 minutes.






Lincoln as Military Commander, a Lincoln Symposium lecture by Joseph T. Glatthaar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Professor Glatthaar presents his views on Abraham Lincoln’s effectiveness as commander in chief. Third of six lectures. Approximate run time: 37 minutes.






Lincoln’s Legacy, a Lincoln Symposium lecture by Heather A. Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Professor Williams discusses Abraham Lincoln’s legacy as viewed by African Americans. Last of six lectures. Approximate run time: 1 hour.






Lincoln’s Political Leadership: An Overview, a Lincoln Symposium lecture by William C. Harris, North Carolina State University


Professor Emeritus Harris examines aspects of Abraham Lincoln’s legacy and leadership. First of six lectures. Approximate run time: 56 minutes.






Lynching in North Carolina, an interview with Vann Newkirk, assistant provost and dean of graduate studies, Alabama A&M University


Newkirk discusses his book Lynching in North Carolina: A History, 1865–1941, and the impact of lynching and mob violence in North Carolina from just after the Civil War to the mid-1900s. Approximate run time: 34 minutes.






The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil Waran interview with historian and author Christian McWhirter


During the Civil War, music accompanied soldiers almost everywhere they went. Regardless of race or ethnicity, it affected both soldiers and civilians. McWhirter discusses the impact of music in the war. He also explains how printed sheet music led to the birth of the modern American music industry. Approximate run time: 31 minutes.






Race and Reunion: Has Civil War Memory United or Divided America?a keynote address by David Blight, Yale University


One of the country’s leading historians on Civil War memory kicks off the first of three symposia commemorating the war’s 150th anniversary. Professor Blight discusses the influences that have impacted and shaped perceptions of race and history since the Civil War and what it means for America today. Approximate run time: 1 hour and 7 minutes.






The Roanoke Island Freedmen’s Colony, an interview with Patricia C. Click, professor emeritus in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia


Professor Click discusses her research examining a second “Lost Colony” on Roanoke Island that occurred during, and shortly after, the American Civil War. Approximate run time: 24 minutes.






The South’s Secret Weapons: Disease, Environment, and the Civil War, a Perspectives on History lecture by Margaret Humphreys, Duke University


Confederate leaders hoped that fevers in the South would become potent weapons should Union forces invade, thus decimating their ranks. Humphreys explores the role of disease in the Civil War and emphasizes the Civil War-era understanding of how epidemiology became a part of the strategy on both sides. Approximate run time: 59 minutes.






United States Colored Troops, a Lincoln Symposium lecture by John David Smith, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Professor Smith discusses the decision to recruit African Americans and the effect of the United States Colored Troops on the outcome of the Civil War. Fourth of six lectures. Approximate run time: 54 minutes






The Untold Civil War, a talk by James I. Robertson Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, Virginia Tech University


Robertson discusses compelling new stories from his book The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War. His stories serve as alternatives to traditional battle narratives of the Civil War. Approximate run time: 1 hour 19 minutes.






When Will This Cruel War Be Over?,a talk by James M. McPherson, professor of history emeritus, Princeton University


The Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and best-selling author discusses the failed attempts at peace negotiations during the American Civil War and considers why the conflict could only have ended with an unconditional military victory. Approximate run time: 1 hour 12 minutes.