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Slaves' Service in Confederate Army Focus of 2010 Barlow Lecture

African Americans in the Confederacy
African Americans in the Confederacy Peter S. Carmichael
Peter S. Carmichael


September 27, 2010

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Gettysburg College Professor and School of Liberal Arts alumnus Peter S. Carmichael will present the John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities at 5:30 p.m. on Oct., 21, 2010, in the IUPUI Campus Center Room 450A.

The talk, “Imagining Slaves as Loyal Confederates: A Dangerous and Enduring Fantasy,” will explore the idea of the devoted black slave during the Civil War and how the historical memory of this form of human bondage continues to shape contemporary politics today.

“The notion that slaves and whites served together in Confederate armies out of mutual fidelity resonates with large segments of the American public who desire a sanitized Civil War of white heroism,” says Carmichael, the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

“In the current cultural wars over ‘Southern heritage,’ those who want to disassociate the Confederacy from the evils of slavery and racism often trot out the idea of loyal slaves defending the South to prove that human bondage forged an unbreakable alliance between master and the enslaved. Extolling slaves as Confederate heroes is a dangerous misuse of history, and unfortunately the practice has been on the rise of late, especially among members of heritage groups who insist that they are the true defenders of Southern history,” says the professor.

A 1988 graduate of the Department of History in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, Dr. Carmichael is also the 2010 recipient of the School of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes alumni who have brought honor to their alma mater by distinguished career of service or achievement or by giving extraordinary service to the school. The award will be presented following the Barlow Lecture.

The Barlow Lecture is hosted by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and honors Liberal Arts Dean and Professor Emeritus John D. Barlow. For additional information about the event or to RSVP, please e-mail with “Barlow Lecture” in the subject line.

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