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50 years after the Speaker Ban Law

UNC's Wilson Special Collections Library will commemorate the 50th anniversary of North Carolina's Speaker Ban Law tomorrow with a lexture featuring former UNC student body president Robert Spearman (’65) discussing the controversial law that barred certain individuals from speaking on campus. Known members of the Communist Party, those who advocated the overthrow of the federal or state government, and those who pleaded the Fifth Amendment when questioned about communist or subversive activities were all prohibited from speaking at state-supported campuses. Spearman testified before a state commission tasked with revising the law, which was overturned in 1968.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The library also has an exhibit of original letters, documents, and photographs examining the University’s long history of free speech controversies from the nineteenth century to the present. The exhibit will run until June 2.

The Rise and Fall of the North Carolina Speaker Ban Law
Gladys Hall Coates University History Lecture
Wilson Special Collections Library
Thursday, April 11

5 p.m. – Viewing of the exhibition A Right to Speak and to Hear: Academic Freedom and Free Expression at UNC, North Carolina Collection Gallery

5:30 p.m. – Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room

Civil War dead

Don't miss the next in the State Archives Civil War Sesquicentennial lecture series Monday May 14 at 10:30. Bill Brown, Debbi Blake, Chris Meekins will present “Sacred Bodies: Caring for the Dead During and After the War.” The lecture is free and will be held in the auditorium of the Library and Archives Building in downtown Raleigh. Visit the Archives hours and parking page for parking and bus information.

Duke hosts Civil War symposium


A free event at Duke University tomorrow will feature experts from Duke, UNC, NC State, and Ohio State University talking about the social, cultural, medical and military aspects of the American Civil War. Along with this symposium, Perkins Library is hosting two Civil War exhibits:
One of the exhibits, "I Recall the Experience Sweet and Sad: Memories of the Civil War," has an extensive online component, including digitized photos and documents relating to Walt Whitman, African American Soldiers, music, battlefield medicine and more. The other exhibit showcases Duke's rich Civil War medicine collection
The program starts at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and a chance to browse through the exhibits and wraps up with a wine and cheese reception starting at 6 p.m. See the full program and information about the speakers here.
Location: Perkins Library Gothic Room, Duke University
To be followed by a reception in the Rare Book Room, Perkins Library
Date: March 16, 2012
Time: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
This event is free and open to the public.

Preserving African American Family History


As part of the African American Family Documentation Initiative, the Southern Historical Collection at UNC's Wilson Library will host an exhibit of photographs, letters, and documents from the newly acquired Lewis Family Collection. J.D. Lewis was one of the state's first African American broadcasters, starting with WRAL radio in the 1940s and moving to WRAL-TV when the station went on the air in December 1956. 
The Lewis Family Collection is the centerpiece of Southern Roots, Enduring Bonds: African American Families in North Carolina, which will run March 20 through July 1, 2012.
Exhibit Opening
With remarks by: Yvonne Lewis Holley, daughter of J.D. Lewis; Reginald F. Hildebrand, UNC professor of history and African and Afro-American studies; Joshua Davis, recent Ph.D. in history at UNC; and Geoff Hathaway, performer on “Teenage Frolic”
Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2012
5:00 p.m. Exhibit viewing, 4th floor
5:30 p.m. Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room (main floor)
Wilson Library
Researching African American Family History Workshop
Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012
9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wilson Library, main floor
Events are free and open to the public. For information, contact:
Liza Terll
Friends of the Library
(919) 548-1203

Learn more about the Civil War


The NC State Archives Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Series has announced its lineup for 2012's "Second Mondays" lectures.
These programs are free to the public and are  held in the auditorium of the State Archives and Library building from 10:30-11:30 a.m. 
February's lecture has been rescheduled for February 20.
February 20:  Changing Tides: The Burnside Expedition, Chris Meekins, N.C. State Archives
May 14: Sacred Bodies: Caring for the Dead During and After the War, Bill Brown, Debbi Blake, Chris Meekins, N.C. State Archives
August 13: Bringing in the Dead: The North Carolina Civil War Atlas and Death Study, Josh Howard, Oce of Archives and History, Research Branch
November 19: Confederate Conscription Laws: A Primer, Bill Brown, N.C. State Archives

Civil War roll call

If your research takes you to the Civil War, the NC State Archives has many resources covering that period. Individual states maintained records of creating and equipping their armies during the startup of the war. Beginning in 1862, the Confederate States of America took over, and records from that time forward reside in the National Archives. However, the State Archives has purchased copies of many of these resources, and many others have been digitized and are available online.

You can find a full explanation of Civil War resources on the North Carolina Civil War 150 blog.

One of the best places to find information about individual soldiers is the many rosters that have been compiled.

North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A Roster, which was begun at the Civil War's centennial in 1966, attempts to list every NC soldier, both Confederate and Union, with information from service records, muster rolls, Adjutant General’s records, pension applications, private collections, period newspapers, and another published roster, Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States (Moore’s Roster). It is currently up to 18 volumes, and more are planned, including an index. It is published by the Historical Publications Section of the NC Office of Archives and History and is available at many local libraries.

More information on individual soldiers can be found by searching his company or regiment records. The two most complete rosters of NC troops that will provide a company and regiment designations for individual soldiers are North Carolina Troops and The Roster of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865.

Service records show enlistment and the whereabouts of the soldier at various points of his military career.

The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, which includes official correspondence and reports made during the war, is available and searchable online.  

The activities of troops following their service also creates a paper trail for researchers. These include pension records, the state auditor’s records of the old soldier’s home, and records of the issuance of artificial limbs.  The Governor's Office papers from each of the governors during the Civil War contains correspondence, such as petitions for help from the state, that provide information about the period and people.

Ashley Yandle, an information management archivist at the State Archives, will be giving a lecture August 8 at 10:30 about finding Civil War records online. She will introduce the Digital Civil War Collection available through the North Carolina Digital Collections in the NCDC and discuss how to search the online catalog. This program will be held at the State Library & Archives Building and  is free to the public.  Call (919)807-7310 to register and reserve your seat.

Confederate veterans. Photo courtesy of the NC State Archives.

Recounting the dead

Historians are taking another look at the number of North Carolina soldiers who died in the Civil War. Research historian Josh Howard heads the North Carolina Civil War Death Study at the NC Office of Archives and History. He has looked though official military records, but also the records of hospitals, cemeteries, churches, prisoner of war camps, pensions, and census, as well as newspaper accounts and diaries to determine deaths among the state's Confederate and Union units.

He found that traditional counts did not include African American and white North Carolinians who died serving the Union army.

Howard will give a lunchtime lecture on July 27 at the NC Museum of History, discussing his research and sharing interesting stories of the soldiers' experiences. The program, called Recounting Civil War Sacrifices, is part of the museum's History a la Carte series. It starts at 12:10 and is free to the public.

Civil War graves discovered

Confederate soldiers who fought in the Battle of Bentonville and died in the care of the Harper family will receive permanent grave markers at a ceremony Saturday. Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz headed the team of archaeologists and historians who discovered the location of the graves and will give a presentation on the project. Other activities during the day include artillery demonstrations and a re-enactment of life in camp.

Derrick Brown, an assistant manager at the site, told WUNC radio that all of the headstones say "unknown soldier" since they have not identified who was buried on the site.

The ceremony dedication will take place at 2 p.m.

Tune in and learn how to preserve your digital memories

As part of National Preservation Week, the American Library Association is offering free online training right in the comfort of your own Internet browser. Tomorrow at 2 p.m. Bill LeFurgy, Digital Initiatives Manager for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress, will present a one-hour webinar on Preserving Your Personal Digital Memories. The program is free and requires no previous knowledge of preservation. Go here to register.

Here's what you'll be learning:

Digital photos, electronic documents, and other new media are fragile and require special care to keep them useable. But preserving digital information is a new concept that most people have little experience with. As new technologies appear for creating and saving our personal digital information, older ones become obsolete, making it difficult to access older content. Learn about the nature of the problem and hear about some simple, practical tips and tools to help you keep your digital memories safe.

Looking back at Civil War newspapers

UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication associate professor Frank Fee spoke last week at Wilson Library about the development and struggles of news and newspapers during the civil war. He describes the evolution of communication during this time and the role played by newpapers and journalists.

This talk was in conjunction with the library's exhibit Home Front on the Hill: Chapel Hill and the University during the Civil War. The exhibit will be on view through May 8 in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room on the third floor of Wilson Library.

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