Saturday, April 16, 2011

Conference in Raleigh May 20 Examines Civil War Memories

RALEIGH -- As it has for generations, the Civil War engages and fascinates students of history like almost no other topic. A keynote address by David Blight of Yale University titled “Race and Reunion : Has Civil War Memory United or Divided America?” will kick off an all-day conference at the N.C. Museum of History on Friday, May 20.

The conference, “Contested Past: Memories and Legacies of the Civil War,” is being held on the 150th anniversary of North Carolina ’s secession from the Union . It is the first of three sesquicentennial symposiums the N.C. Office of Archives and History will sponsor around the state between 2011 and 2015.

Following Blight’s address, other experts in the field of Civil War history will examine aspects of memory and the war in breakout sessions with topics that include literature, historiography, statuary, monuments, race, women, heritage organizations, and other legacies.

A registration fee of $25 covers all lectures, morning refreshments, a boxed lunch and a reception late Friday afternoon. To register, send a check made payable to the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association (NCLHA) by May 10 to Parker Backstrom, 4610 Mail Service Center , Raleigh , NC 27699-4610 . For more information, call the N.C. Office of Archives & History at (919) 807-7280, or go to

Sponsors include the North Caroliniana Society, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, the North Carolina Civil War Tourism Council, and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association

On May 20, 1861, delegates meeting in the State Capitol voted to take North Carolina out of the Union and align with the Confederate States of America . For the next four years North Carolinians , other Southerners and those in the North engaged in a protracted war touching every part of society.

A team of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources staff, operating with an advisory panel of leading historians, has planned more than 200 events, lectures and exhibits across the state to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources ( is the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina ’s social, cultural and economic future.


David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of History at Yale University , is the author of “Race and Reunion : The Civil War in American Memory,” for which he received the Bancroft, Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass Prizes.

John Coffey is the deputy director for art at the North Carolina Museum of Art where, since 1989, he also has been the Curator of American and Modern Art.

Adam H. Domby is a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill . His current research explores the memory of dissent and intra-community violence in North Carolina .

Mark Elliott is associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro . Along with John David Smith, he co-edited Undaunted Radical: The Selected Writings and Speeches of Albion W. Tourgee.

James Gillispie teaches history at Sampson Community College in Clinton . He is the author of Andersonvilles of the North: The Myths and Realities of the Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners.

John Haley is a retired professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington . The study of race relations and the Civil War and Reconstruction are his areas of specialty.

Michael C. Hardy maintains the blog “ North Carolina and the Civil War.” In 2010 he was named North Carolina Historian of the Year by the North Carolina Society of Historians.

John C. Inscoe, University Professor and Albert B. Saye Professor of History at the University of Georgia , is author of “Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South” and “Writing the South through the Self.”

Elizabeth C. King is a survey specialist in the Eastern Office of the State Historic Preservation Office. She is completing a comprehensive survey of historic architectural resources in Beaufort County .

Leonard Lanier is a graduate student at Louisiana State University . His research interests include post-Civil War political violence in eastern North Carolina .

David Madden, the Robert Penn Warren Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University and founding director of the United States Civil War Center, recently retired to Black Mountain .

Jaime Martinez is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where her primary teaching area is 19th-century U.S. history.

Chris Meekins is correspondence archivist at the North Carolina State Archives and serves as chairman of the symposium subcommittee of the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.

Barton A. Myers, assistant professor of history at Texas Tech University , received the Jules and Frances Landry Award for “Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865.”

Erica St. Lawrence is a Master’s degree candidate in public history at North Carolina State University . Her interests include myth and memory-making in public history and early modern European history.

Shannon SanCartier is an archivist for the Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear. Her thesis about Fort Fisher was selected best history thesis ( University of North Carolina at Wilmington ) in 2010.

David Silkenat is an assistant professor of history and education at North Dakota State University . He is the author of “Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina.”

Tom Vincent is a local records management analyst for the North Carolina State Archives. He maintains the Web site “North Carolina Civil War Monuments Survey” (

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