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:
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. 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.
 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