African American History

Myths & Misunderstandings: The North and Slavery

Earlier this summer, comments on one of our Facebook posts sparked a larger conversation about recurring debates about the Civil War. We asked our visitors, social media audiences, and staff to generate a list of the questions or topics about the Civil War that they think are the most misunderstood. In providing answers to these, our goal is to do the research for you, consulting with primary sources, leading historians, and the latest scholarship, and distill it into something you can read quickly over a cup of coffee.

By Adrian Brettle
Mellon Fellow

May 2017 Documents of the Month | Photos from WWI Era

By John Coski

Prompted by Germany’s declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare, the United States entered “the Great War” on the side of the Allies in April 1917. While the U.S. government worried about the loyalty of millions of German-Americans, other “hyphenated Americans” went out of their way to demonstrate their support of the American war effort.

White House Wednesday | White House Evening Tours Give Voice to Untold Stories

By Patrick Saylor
Director, Marketing Communication

Old homes hold many stories within their walls, and the house at 12th and Clay Streets in Richmond is no exception. As the residence of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family from 1861-1865, the White House was the scene of many conversations and interactions, both public and private, among family members, free and enslaved servants, and visitors.

January 2017 Document of the Month | An Appeal for Aid

By John Coski

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, an estimated 300,000 southerners, white and black, faced the real prospect of famine.  The immediate cause of the crisis was not the effects of civil war and emancipation, but drought and crop failure during the 1866 growing season. The Federal government, through the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands – the “Freedmen’s Bureau” – budgeted $500,000 in aid, and private organizations mobilized throughout the United States to raise and distribute money, food, and clothing.


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