Sunday, April 17, 2011

Burwell School hosts speaker on slavery and the civil war

The Burwell School Historic Site, N. Churton St., will host Katherine Mellen Charron, Ph.D., for a lecture titled “William Henry Singleton’s Recollections of My Slavery Days: a North Carolina Slave’s View of the Civil War and Its Legacies” on Wednesday, April 20, at 7 p.m.
Admission to this programs is free and is open to the public with reception to follow. For more information, contact the Burwell School at 732-7451 or email This program is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In 1922, the former slave and Union Army veteran William Henry Singleton published an autobiography that provided a fascinating glimpse of life in a North Carolina coastal city and rural neighborhood. His Recollections of My Slavery Days vividly reminds us how slavery impacted black and white families, the church and the marketplace in the antebellum South as well as the upheaval that accompanied the Civil War. The talk explores what Singleton’s narrative revealed about a place and the people in it, about slavery and freedom, and the bridge between the two.
For Singleton, that bridge was built in the crucible of the Civil War and rested on the militant black political self-assertion that emerged early in the war in coastal North Carolina. Considering the 57 years between the war’s end and Singleton’s writing, this talk also considers the question of memory, of what we choose to remember, how we remember it and why that matters.

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