VIDEOS

UGRR - Video (VOTCW)

VOICES OF THE CIVIL WAR: VIDEOS

Overview

The Voices of the Civil War film series documents the roles of African Americans in the American Civil War using letters, diaries, newspapers clippings, original photographs, stories and narratives. This film series hopes to illustrate the thoughts, experiences, and contributions of African Americans during this time.

Each episode consist of various primary source materials that help to tell the story of important people and events that changed the course of history.

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Browse Resources

Voices of the Civil War

This Voices of the Civil War trailer highlights the topics and issues in episodes 1 through 21 as of October 2013.

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0001 The Original Sin Part 1

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 1, Part 1, The Original Sin, we look at the beginning of the American Civil War, the attack on Fort Sumter, and slavery as the true cause of the Civil War.

Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-DIG-ppmsca-21740]

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0001 The Original Sin Part 2

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 1, Part 2, The Constitution as the flawed foundation, we focus on the Founding Fathers, who while writing the U. S. Constitution consciously did not include slavery.

Image Credit: Architect of the Capitol

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0002 Bannekers Letter

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 2, Banneker's Letter, we commend African Americans who fought back against prejudice and racism long before the Civil War, with a focus on Benjamin Banneker. In 1791, Banneker confronted, Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson about his conflicting views of slavery. He challenged Jefferson’s perception of African Americans by offering himself as a role model of intelligence, wit and strength.

Image Credit: Collection of the Banneker-Douglass Museum, http://www.bdmuseum.com/

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0003 Contraband

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 3, Contraband, we look at the flight of African Americans to northern lines to find freedom and fight with the Union Army. Three enslaved blacks, Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend, flee to Union lines where General Benjamin Butler coins the term, “Contraband of war,” and begins a new policy known as the Confiscation Act.

Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-DIG-stereo-1s02760]

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0004 Resistance to Slavery

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 4, Resistance to Slavery, we look at the rise of slave resistance and the use of the Underground Railroad. Abolitionists like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass use the Underground Railroad to actively resist slavery by helping slaves find freedom in the North. Authors like Theodore Dwight Weld and Harriett Beecher Stowe fought slavery by publishing its horrors worldwide. At the beginning of the Civil War the use of the Underground Railroad declines as freedom seekers begin a much bigger fight.

Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-USZ62-28860]

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0005 A White Mans War

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 5, A White Man's War, we will learn about the first African American men who were prepared to fight in the Civil War. 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.

Image Credit: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0006 Overwhelming Numbers and Resources

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 6, Overwhelming Numbers and Resources, we look at the difference between the North and the South in regards to manpower and resources. In 1861, 18.9 million Americans lived in the North versus 8 million Americans that lived in the South. The overwhelming numbers along with other resources had a critical impact upon the course and outcome of the war. Why was the Confederate army, with less than half the population of the North, confident they could win the Civil War?

Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-DIG-ppmsca-08407]

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0007 The Day of the Big Gun Shoot

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 7, The Day of the Big Gun Shoot, we visit the Sea Islands of South Carolina, where cotton production flourished during slavery. As the Civil War unfolds, the islands become the site of the Battle of Port Royal on November 7, 1861. Armies attack, slave masters flee, and cotton and slaves remain, once again, left with the dust from where the cannon fire settles. The battle, originally a conflict over Southern seaports, becomes a training ground for future reconstruction and what to do with those enslaved.

Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-USZC2-3134]

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 0008 Battle of Antietam

In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 8, we examine the Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862. This one battle produced the most casualties of any single day in the Civil War. The battle was a draw and neither the Union nor the Confederacy came out ahead. Nevertheless, this battle gave Lincoln the fuel and momentum to issue one of the most important documents in American History.

Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-DIG-pga-01841]

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© 2012 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. All rights reserved. 315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201 | (313) 494-5800 | info@chwmuseum.org

This program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program.