From January - April, 2012 Durham County Library will be hosting the series Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War. Dr. Freddie Parker, chair of North Carolina Central University’s History Department will lead these programs.
The programs are already full, however, participation will be available from this web site and our Let's Talk About It blog.
Making Sense of the American Civil War: From the moment Americans founds themselves pulled into a civil war of unimaginable scale and consequence, they tried desperately to make sense of what was happening to them. From the secession crisis into the maelstrom of battle, from the nightmare of slavery into the twilight of emancipation, Americans of all backgrounds confronted the chaos with stories to explain how things had come to be. People continued to tell themselves those stories about the war and its meaning for the next century and a half, and they probably always will.
Historians’ understanding of the global significance of the Civil War has shifted from fifty years ago, at the time of the centennial, when its major consequence seemed to be the unification of a nation that would stand against communism. Today, the Civil War matters just as much, it seems, for bringing an end to the most powerful system of slavery in the modern world. A hundred and fifty years after the defining war in our nation’s history, we are still discovering its meanings.
Stories about the American Civil War have been told in many forms, often disguised as something else. Most of the stories at the time came in letters or diaries or reports, fashioned from whatever materials were close at hand. Speeches, made up on the spot or carefully crafted for the world to read, told stories that placed blame and laid out strategies. Newspaper articles written overnight shaped fragments and reports into narratives of victory and loss. Memoirs, short stories, novels, and histories written months or years later wove new patterns of storytelling.
Let’s Talk About It is a reading and discussion series led by local scholars and organized around themes that engage and stimulate audiences. It was pioneered by the American Library Association (ALA) on a national level in 1982. Let’s Talk About It has reached hundreds of libraries and more than four million people around the United States in the past 30 years.
This program has been made possible by: