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Posted by The Wright Museum
The Wright Museum
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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

Welcome to the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience! The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History opens minds and changes lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture. Some of the museum’s features include:

• 125,000 square feet and seven exhibition areas devoted to African Americans and their stories

• 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

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

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

• The General Motors Theater, a 317 seat facility for film, live performances, lectures, and presentations

• A museum store that sells authentic African art, books, and other merchandise.

Founded in 1965 by Detroit obstetrician Dr. Charles Wright, The Wright Museum is located in the heart of Midtown Detroit's Cultural Center, next to the Michigan Science Center and one block from the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Key to the experience is "And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture," the museum's 22,000-square foot, interactive core exhibit, which attracts and enthralls thousands of visitors per year. Thousands more enjoy a wide array of spectacular events including concerts, film screenings, lectures, performances, community health and fitness classes, and so much more! All told, The Wright serves close to a half million people per year through its exhibits, programs, websites, and annual events such as African World Festival.