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The Wright Museum
Founded in 1965 and located in the heart of Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, t
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on Wednesday, 20 June 2012
in Voices of the Civil War

Voices of the Civil War Episode 5 "A White Man's War"

JUNE 2012: The Voices of the Civil War is a five-year film series dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the Civil War over the course of the sesquicentennial.  Each month, new episodes cover pertinent topics that follow the monthly events and issues as they unfolded for African Americans during the Civil War.  Within these episodes there are various primary sources – letters and diaries, newspaper reports, and more - to recount various experiences of blacks during this period. We encourage your feedback and commentary through our Voices of the Civil War web blog.

Click on the links below to view prior episodes:

• Episode 1 Part 1 click here

• Episode 1 Part 2 click here

• Episode 2 click here

• Episode 3 click here

• Episode 4 click here

Many northerners were determined to keep their conflict with the South a ‘white man’s war.’  Whenever recruiting offices were opened, black men offered themselves and were rejected.  Nonetheless, they were confident that the opportunity to serve the Union was a matter of time.[1]  The Lincoln administration, Republican press and even some anti-slavery newspapers stated that the goal of the war was the restoration of the Union, and that the issues of slavery and blacks had nothing to do with the conflict.  Such actions dampened the rising enthusiasm of African Americans for the Union cause. In episode 5 we learn about the first African American men who were prepared to fight in the Civil War.

[1] William Wells Brown, The Negro in the American Rebellion: His Heroism and His Fidelity, (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2003), 30.


Shots 1 - 5 Library of Congress
Shot 6 Courtesy of the South Carolina Senate
Shot 7 John Baptiste LePaon, Lafayette at Yorktown, Easton, Pennsylvania. Lafayette College, Art Collection
Shot 8 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Shots 9 -10 Library of Congress
Shot 11 Architect of the Capitol
Shot 12 The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
Shot 13 Library of Congress
Shots 14 -16 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Shots 17 -18 Library of Congress


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The Wright Museum

Founded in 1965 and located in the heart of Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. The Wright opens minds and changes lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture. This 125,000-square foot museum provides a welcoming, inclusive environment for people of all ages, races, and backgrounds to immerse themselves in the African American experience, and gain a new appreciation for the diversity of our nation. Housing over 35,000 artifacts and archival materials, the Museum features:

· And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture, the Museum's 22,000 square foot, interactive core exhibit, which is the largest single exhibition on African American history in existence

· The Ford Freedom Rotunda and its 65-foot high glass dome; this architectural wonder is two feet wider than the State Capitol dome

· Ring of Genealogy, a 37-foot terrazzo tile creation by artist Hubert Massey surrounded by bronze nameplates of prominent African Americans in history

· Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology, a permanent exhibition focused on S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts for children

· The Children’s Discovery Room, an interactive, multimedia experience for preschool through 3rd grade students

· The Louise Lovett Wright Library and Robert L. Hurst Research Center

· The General Motors Theater, a 317-seat facility for live performances, films and presentations

· A museum store that sells authentic African and African American art, books and merchandise

· Over 200 public events annually including concert performances, theatrical productions, film screenings, lectures, and family and children’s programming. The Museum also serves as a facility for countless private functions including weddings, anniversary parties, baby showers, corporate meetings and conferences, memorial services, and community events.

The Wright Museum serves close to a half million people annually through its exhibitions, programs, websites, and events such as African World Festival.