Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial is Off and Running

2While other states are still in the beginning stages of organizing sesquicentennial commissions Virginia is getting ready to host a major event on Wednesday, April 29 at the University of Richmond’s Robins Center.  This is the first of a series of Signature Conferences that will be held throughout the sesquicentennial.  This first conference is titled, “America on the Eve of the Civil War” and will include four sessions, which will place participants in a position where they must take stock of the nation following John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry and anticipate its consequences as a presidential election loomes on the horizon.  The participants make up a who’s who list of Civil War historians.  They include, among others, David Blight, Gary Gallagher, Manisha Sinha, Nelson Lankford, Charles Dew, and Ed Ayers.  Well over 1,700 people are registered to date, coming from all over Virginia plus 23 other states.  Registration is still open, though I urge you to reserve a seat now as it looks like it will eventually sell out.

I will be live blogging throughout the day.  In fact, I will be located in a special section with the rest of the media – should be a blast.  In addition to blogging, I will be hosting a luncheon for educators, the goal being to give teachers a chance to network and discuss the session topics.  I do hope that additional states can muster the political will and organize commemorative committees to better our understanding of this crucial period in American history.  For now, sit back and watch as Virginia sets the standard.

Update: The Q&A sections of the panels will include questions submitted electronically. It looks like you will be able to submit a question to me through the blog that I can relay to the Question Manager. I will provide more details as we get closer to the conference.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

3 comments… add one
  • Barbara Pixley Jun 29, 2009 @ 15:15

    While my great-great grandfather & great-grandfather fought on the side of the Union, many of our ancestors also come from the south-descending from the Randolphs of Virginia-one of our cousins being Thomas Jefferson. For us, as I presume many others, it was indeed-‘a Civil War’.
    To honor them-I have entered two stories about my great-great grandfather: James Pixley & my great-grandfather: John Henry Friday- & their time in the Civil War. James fought at New Orleans, John Henry fought in Virginia & was also incarcerated in Andersonville prison.
    Fortunately-for our family-they both survived. But what a tragedy the loss of so many young lives. We honor those who wore both the blue and the grey.
    You can check out my website & go to the bottom of the home page to ‘Stories’-click on:
    “James Pixley in the Civil War” & “John Henry Friday=Soldier, Prisoner, Pioneer”.

  • Greg Rowe Mar 29, 2009 @ 18:11

    I will be following your live blogging closely, since, unfortunately, I will be unable to attend. That is the week of all of our state assessments in Texas, so not many teachers around the state are going to be going much of anywhere!

    • Kevin Levin Mar 30, 2009 @ 3:27


      You can expect regular updates throughout the day. I will also be taking photographs, twittering, and doing a bit of video. This promises to be an amazing day.

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