Friday, September 24, 2010

Final Q&A Session

Q: Is there a difference in how people of different ages remember the war and why don’t more African Americans go to Civil War Sites?

A: Holzer – Stated that he fears that memory of the Civil War is evaporating among young students.

Blight – African Americans did not go to Civil War sites because for many years it was just the story of the “blue and the gray” being told – they had no vested interest due to a “segregated memory” of the Civil War.

Well, there have been other questions asked to the panelists but I have simply been unable to keep up with the pace of conversation. If you want the full experience, be sure to order a copy of the DVD (follow the Sesquicentennial Commission’s website for updates on when it will be released).

Overall, I think that this conference has been a smashing success, handling a very complicated and controversial subject with sensitivity and sophistication. As we head into the Sesquicentennial, the topic of slavery and race will no doubt stir up the usual firestorms of righteous indignation. Conferences such as this will be invaluable educational tools for what will hopefully be a very inclusive and diverse commemoration.

Many thanks to Cheryl Jackson of the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission and all of those involved in putting together a great Signature Conference.

My fingers are tired, so I’m going to sign off.

See you next year!


  1. Hi Jimmy,

    Many congratulations on your coverage of the event, it was a fantastic achievement. I never thought I would be able to follow a conference in the States 'live' from Ireland- I enjoyed it immensely. Many thanks for your efforts!


  2. Thanks Damian. Of all the positive feedback I've gotten today, yours is the most meaningful - to think that this blog has "gone global" is very humbling. Glad you enjoyed the coverage!



  3. Hi Jimmy,

    Just want to commend you on your outstanding blog coverage! I'm pretty sure that I saw smoke flying from your fingers at some point!

    Thanks very much for bringing the conference to the blogosphere. Next conference is only 7 months away . . . .


  4. I was excited that a question I had emailed in was used in this Q&A: Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had various exempting clauses and proscriptions. Runaways and Contraband seem to suggest that emancipation is a singular and local event. How do we reconcile the two? Or can they be reconciled?
    It was merged with a second question. I don't think they panel quite got the jist of it - or rather began answering and ran down a different rabbit hole.

  5. I think Blight's response is accurate. In numerous trips to Gettysburg, Antietam, and the Fredericksburg area this year, I rarely recall seeing blacks touring the sites. They are there, but very few compared to whites. However, when I walked through the Harpers Ferry John Brown museum, I was the minority. There were more than a dozen blacks reading every panel and watching every video.

  6. This past twelve months or more I have seen numerous African Americans, couples and families, visiting the battlefields, both here in the Fredericksburg area and Manassas. This is indeed refreshing. It seems like something is happening to pigue their interests, so a lot of hard work is paying off for those working toward inclusiveness.

  7. Add my kudos for the work you did on this event. I admit I have not read every single word of it yet, but what I have seen has been good and I can certainly tell the kind of effort you put into it. Good job!

  8. Cheryl,

    Thank YOU for inviting me to come and for being so accommodating at the last minute. I could tell that a lot of hard work and preparation went into this conference and am eagerly looking forward to the next installment of what has proven to be an invaluable way of bringing academia to the public.


    I think that a lack of time was the greatest hindrance to your question getting answered. Neither Q&A session proved to be that fruitful because of the constraint on time. Good questions, though!


    I remember thinking the same thing when I used to work at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. There was an entire third of the museum dedicated to the African American experience and the only people who seemed to enjoy it were caucasians. I think as we inch closer to the 150th that we’ll start to see that change.


    I certainly hope that trend continues.


    As always, thanks!