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The scholarship and public history the sixteen historians had created over their careers made this plan seem at least feasible. Their collective body of work embraces everything from politics to literature, from industrial slavery to African American art, from women's reform efforts to racial ideologies, from military history to the history of memory. Some of them worked at museums and libraries while others taught at universities and colleges across the nations. They belonged to no particular school of interpretation, and quite a few had never met one another.
The historians, whatever their backgrounds, shared a sense of responsibility for opening a national conversation about the causes, events, and consequences of the American Civil war on it 150th anniversary. When the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission approached the University of Richmond to see if we might be interested in hosting the first session to wrestle with the commemoration, we jumped at the chance. The former capital of the Confederacy and a center of the internal salve trade would be a fitting place to begin the conversation about the meaning of the Civil War and the end of slavery.
University of Virginia Press
Civil War, United States, history
School of Arts and Sciences
American Studies | United States History
Ayers, Edward L., and Carolyn R. Martin, eds. America on the Eve of Civil War. Charlottesville , VA: University of Virginia Press, 2010.