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Civil War & Emancipation -- Conflict & Reckoning

Humanities Tennessee, The Robert Penn Warren Center, and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area were pleased to present a special series of sessions hearalding the upcoming anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the 2012 Southern Festival of Books.

"Civil War & Emancipation--Conflict & Reckoning" was held in conjunction with the Warren Center's 2012-2013 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on the theme “The Age of Emancipation: Black Freedom in the Atlantic World,” which coincides with the sesquicentenary of the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863).

Portions of this program were funded, in part, by the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

The sessions occurred throughout the Festival weekend according to the schedule below. You may also download the color brochure here.

12:00-1:00 p.m.
Library Auditorium, Nashville Public Library
Harold Holzer
Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory

Harold Holzer is one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, Holzer serves as chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, successor organization to the U. S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC), to which he was appointed by President Clinton in 2000, and co-chaired from 2001-2010. President Bush, in turn, awarded Holzer the National Humanities Medal in 2008.

1:00-2:00 pm.
Room 31, Legislative Plaza
Fergus Bordewich
America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas and the Compromise that Preserved the Union

Fergus Bordewich is the author of several books, among them Washington: The Making of the American Capital and Bound for Canaan, a national history of the Underground Railroad. As a journalist he has written widely on political and cultural subjects in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, American Heritage, The Atlantic, and many other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.

2:00-3:00 pm
Room 12, Legislative Plaza
Henry Wiencek
Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves

Henry Wiencek , a nationally prominent historian and writer, is the author of several books, including The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1999, and An Imperfect God. He lives with his wife in Charlottesville, Virginia.

3:00-4:00 pm
Room 12, Legislative Plaza

Ties That Bind: Slavery, Identity, and Family
John Baker, Heather Andrea Williams

John Baker has lived his entire life just a few miles from Wessyngton Plantation in Springfield, a town populated by hundreds of descendants of its slaves. In seventh grade he discovered the story of his ancestors by accident when he saw a photograph of four former slaves in a social studies textbook. Months later he learned that they were his grandmother's paternal grandparents, Emanuel and Henny Washington, who had been enslaved on Wessyngton Plantation. For more than thirty years, he has been using his research to unravel his family history and others. The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation

Heather Andrea Williams is associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Help Me to Find My People: the African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery    

4:30-5:30 p.m.    
Conference Room II, Nashville Public Library         
The Emancipation Proclamation and James Baldwin: A Twentieth Century Disquisition on Equality
From our Conversations Bureau, join us for an informal discussion of brief texts that explore the outcome of past and present social divisions. Facilitated by Dr. Michael Bertrand, Associate Professor of History, Tennessee State University.

Saturday, October 13

10:00-11:00 am
Room 16, Legislative Plaza
David Blight
American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era

David Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University and Director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. Blight was the Class of 1959 Professor of History at Amherst College, where he taught for 13 years. He has won major historical awards, including the Bancroft Prize and the Frederick Douglass Prize.

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Conference Room II, Nashville Public Library
Region, Race and Memory: Inheriting the Civil War
From our Conversations Bureau, join us for an informal discussion of brief texts that explore the outcome of past and present social divisions. Facilitated by Dr. Michael Bertrand, Associate Professor of History, Tennessee State University.

12:00-1:00 pm
Library Auditorium, Nashville Public Library
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Why So Few Blacks Study the Civil War

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic and blogs on its website. Coates has worked for The Village Voice,Washington City Paper, and Time. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, O, and other publications. In 2008 he published a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.

1:30-3:00 pm
Room 16, Legislative Plaza
Histories of Freedom: People and Politics in the Atlantic World
Madison Smartt Bell, Laurent DuBois, Jane Landers

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of fifteen previous works of fiction, including All Souls' Rising (a National Book Award finalist), Soldier's Joy and Anything Goes. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Goucher College.

Laurent DuBois is the author of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2004. The Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, Dubois has written on Haiti for The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker website, among other publications, and is the codirector of the Haiti Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Jane Landers is Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, former Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Science and past Director of the Center for Latin American Studies. Se was awarded the Rembert Patrick Book Award and has been awarded honorary mention for the 2011 Bolton Johnson Prize for the best English-language book on any aspect of Latin American History. Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions

2:30-4 pm
Room 31, Legislative Plaza
Agents of Liberty and Equality
David Cecelski, Nicholas Buccola, Devon Carbado

Devon Carbado is professor of law and African American studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and the coeditor of several books, including Race Law Stories and Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin.

David Cecelski is an independent historian and writer who has taught at Duke University, East Carolina University, and is affiliated with the Southern Oral History Program at UNCChapel Hill. He edits the popular oral history series Listening to History for the Raleigh News and Observer. The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War.                      

Nicholas Buccola is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.  The Political Thought of Frederick Douglas: In Pursuit of American Liberty                  

4:00 pm
Grand Reading Room, Nashville Public Library
War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865
James McPherson

James McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has published numerous volumes on the Civil War, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, Crossroads of Freedom (which was a New York Times bestseller), Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, which won the Lincoln Prize.            

4:00 pm
Conference Room II, Nashville Public Library
Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation
Rebecca Scott

Rebecca Scott  is the Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. Scott received an AB from Radcliffe College, an MPhil in economic history from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in history from Princeton University. She is a recent recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  


Sunday, October 14

12:00-1:00 pm
Library Auditorium, Nashville Public Library
Tony Horwitz
Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War

Tony Horwitz  is an American journalist and writer. His works include Blue Latitudes or Into the Blue, One for the Road, Confederates In The Attic, Baghdad Without A Map, and A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World.               

1:30-2:30 pm
Room 12, Legislative Plaza
1861: The Civil War Awakening
Adam Goodheart

Adam Goodheart is a historian, essayist, and journalist. His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, among others, and he is a regular columnist for The New York Times's acclaimed online Civil War series, Disunion. He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College's C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

3:00-4:30 pm
Room 31, Legislative Plaza
The Civil War in Tennessee     

Timothy Johnson
Spurgeon King
Carroll Van West

Timothy Johnson, PhD, is professor of history and chair of the Department of History, Politics, and Philosophy at Lipscomb University. He is author of four books (one forthcoming) and numerous articles on the Mexican War and Civil War. Johnson has been an Andrew J. Mellon Research Fellow and Archibald Hanna, Jr. Research Fellow in American History. He has been featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV and The History Channel. 

Spurgeon King , Associate Director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, holds a B.S. in History and International Affairs from Florida State University, and two degrees from Middle Tennessee State University—a History and Historic Preservation and Ph.D. in Public History. King just finished serving as editor for The Civil War in Appalachia (Tennessee Historical Society, 2012), a forthcoming anthology in the Tennessee Historical Society’s Civil War Series, “Tennessee in the Civil War: The Best of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly," edited by Carroll Van West.

Carroll Van West , director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University, is the co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, the only National Heritage Area in the United States that is administered by a university department. He also serves as editor-in-chief of The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture web site.                 

Civil War and Emancipation Brochure.pdf1.46 MB