Upcoming Talk on Black Confederates + Appearance on History Detectives

I couldn’t be more excited about this talk.  This is my first public presentation on the subject and my first opportunity to formally outline my own thinking about the kinds of questions that need to be explored as well as the pitfalls involved in the current debate and reliance on the Internet as a reliable source.  The story of Silas and Andrew Chandler is the perfect case study for such a presentation.

I am also excited to announce that I will be involved in a production of an upcoming episode of the History Detectives, which will explore the life of these two men.  You may remember that the Antiques Road Show recently featured the original photograph of Silas and Andrew.  A number of people, including yours truly, raised serious questions about Wes Cowan’s interrogation of the artifact as well as his overall understanding of the subject.  It’s good to see that PBS is taking the time to dig deeper.  Filming will take place in May and I will keep you updated.

11 comments… add one
  • Tom Perry Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:17

    I will bring you a copy of my book on Patrick County Virginia in the Civil War. I write about the life of slaves and free people in the chapter on the homefront. There is also some discussion of the slave patrols in that chapter too. All of this in the Order Books in the county courthouse. It is a lot of work, but it is there.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:27

      Awesome! Make sure you sign it. 🙂

  • Tom Perry Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:11

    I will. Looking forward to hearing your presentation.
    I have researched through several counties along the VA/NC border in the Order Books, which give some insights into the “requisitions” of slaves and “Free People of Color.”
    Wednesday morning I am going to hear Dr. Robertson give a “last lecture” at VT as he was my professor in college all those years ago and is retiring.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:13

      I would love to see what you’ve uncovered at some point. I am not going to go into excruciating detail tomorrow evening. I want to talk a bit about Chandler and the many pitfalls of the public discussion.

  • Tom Perry Apr 25, 2011 @ 12:32


    I am planning on attending tomorrow night, so you better be good! 😉

    Tom Perry

    • Kevin Levin Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:07

      Hi Tom. Make sure you introduce yourself.

  • Neil Hamilton Apr 21, 2011 @ 17:59


    Good Luck with your upcoming talk and show.

    I have always appreciated your posts and information on the subject of black confederate soldiers here and the need to do the indepth research that is often missing when it comes to such claims. Belief is fine as far as it goes, but belief does not make evidence.


    • Kevin Levin Apr 22, 2011 @ 0:57

      Thanks Neil. I appreciate the kind words.

  • Frank Apr 21, 2011 @ 15:44

    Utilize this event as an opportunity to address the subject in greater depth than the media usually permits. And that includes addressing the more complex nuances of the black confederate issue in your presentation of the back story. It’s fine to call the “tens of thousands” claims into question, but you should also note reliable evidence such as the Louisiana state militia. In other words, educate your audience instead of lecturing it on what you perceive to be the mistakes of its understanding of the issue.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 21, 2011 @ 15:50

      Nice to hear from you, Frank. We seem to agree on quite a bit. I am going to use Chandler to lay out what we know and what we don’t know about these men. I plan on mentioning the Louisiana state militia. That said, I would like to think that what I have written on this subject here constitutes more than simply “lecturing” an audience. Thanks for the comment.

  • Corey Meyer Apr 21, 2011 @ 14:43

    Very Cool…Congrats.

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