Beyond the Myths: The American Civil War in History and Memory is a series of programs scheduled in February and March that will look at the impact of the Civil War on North Carolina, and how the state’s role in the Confederacy plays out today in the ongoing tension surrounded in the monuments of that war.
Atkins Library, the Department of History at UNC Charlotte, and the Sugar Creek Branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library present “Beyond the Myths: The American Civil War in History and Memory” – a series of events designed to shed light on the current controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and provide factual historical information about North Carolina’s role in the Confederacy.
The project, made possible by the Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund, features five events beginning on February 21 and ending on March 13.
Local and visiting scholars and experts will discuss how the war affected individual North Carolinians from each socioeconomic group and geographic area of the state. They will contrast the history with the myths and discuss the history and future of the Civil War monuments.
“Beyond the Myths: The American Civil War in History and Memory” is a collaboration between faculty and instructors in the UNC Charlotte College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and librarians at Atkins Library and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
All programs are free and open to the public.
Opening Presentation and Reception
Thursday, February 21, 6:30 p.m.
Halton Reading Room, Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
Dr. Paul Escott, Reynolds Professor of History Emeritus at Wake Forest University, will speak on North Carolina’s role in the Confederacy – the history, controversies, and resistance. He will contrast the history with the myths and discuss the history of the Confederate monuments in North Carolina. Dr. Escott is an authority on North Carolina’s history during the Confederacy and is the author of numerous books and articles on the topic.
Tuesday, February 26, 4:30 p.m.
Room 125, Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
Join North Carolina Genealogist and Former Atkins Librarian Donna Gunter at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26 in Atkins Room 125 as she presents a program on how to search your family history. Ms. Gunter will also share her personal genealogy history as a descendant of the North Carolina Shelton family.
The Shelton family is noted in Western North Carolina for the Shelton Laurel Massacre, the January 1863 execution of 13 of its members. Confederate Officer James A. Keith led the execution of the boys and men who ranged in age from 12 to 63. The 64th North Carolina Regiment carried out the execution.
African American Genealogy Workshop
Wednesday, February 27, 6:00 p.m.
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon Street
Join African American Genealogist and Librarian Marcellaus Joiner at 6 p.m. at Sugar Creek Library for a genealogy workshop for African Americans. African descendants face distinct challenges when trying to uncover their ancestors’ stories. This class covers the basic steps for getting started on the journey to reconnecting with your rich heritage. Mr. Joiner is a librarian at the High Point Public Library’s Heritage Research Center and is the Archivist for the High Point Museum.
Film Screening: Free State of Jones
Monday, March 4, 5 p.m.
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon Street
Free State of Jones, a 2016 movie starring Matthew McConaughey, is based on the true story of Mississippian Newton Knight as told in the book written by Historian Victoria Bynum, a Knight descendant. Knight was a Southerner fighting as a Confederate soldier when he tired of fighting a “rich man’s war,” deserted and formed his own alliance against the Confederacy. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Historian Tom Cole will introduce the film and discuss its historical significance.
Panel Presentation and Closing Reception
Wednesday, March 13, 6:30 p.m.
UNC Charlotte Center City
320 E. 9th Street
Join UNC Charlotte Professor of History Dr. Karen Cox as she leads a discussion on the history, controversy and future of Civil War memorials in a panel presentation, “Commemorating the Confederacy: History, Memory and Meaning in the 21st Century South” at UNC Charlotte’s Center City auditorium on March 13. Joining Dr. Cox are guest scholars Dr. William Sturkey, Assistant Professor of History at UNC Chapel Hill and Dr. Hilary Green, Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama. Register.