CWI Director Peter Carmichael will participate in several components of Phillips Exeter Academy’s upcoming “Reconstruction Reconsidered: Legacy of Systematic Racism and Interracial Democracies” conference, to be held April 19-21 on the school’s campus in Exeter, New Hampshire. Sponsored by Exeter’s Department of History, the conference will feature keynote addresses from four speakers: Carmichael; Michael Battle (Director of the Desmond Tutu Center, General Seminary NYC); Deirdre B. Cooper Owens (Queens College, CUNY); and John Stauffer (Harvard University), as well as a panel discussion featuring all four visiting scholars, and individual class visits.
Carmichael’s talk, “Imagining Slaves as Loyal Confederates: A Dangerous and Enduring Fantasy,” will explore the idea of the devoted black slave during the Civil War and how the historical memory of this form of human bondage continues to shape contemporary politics today. “The notion that slaves and whites served together in Confederate armies out of mutual fidelity resonates with large segments of the American public who desire a sanitized Civil War of white heroism,” says Carmichael.
His lecture will explore how this idea of “loyal slaves defending the South” has served as both an apologia for slavery and a way of disassociating the Confederacy from the evils of racism. The lecture will begin at 7:15 pm on Friday, April 21, in the Forum, Academy Center. The panel discussion will take place on Thursday, April 20 at 8:00 pm in Phillips Church.