About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War's Most Persistent Myth

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
September 24, 2019

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for tonight’s program, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through Facebook or YouTube.

Before we hear from Kevin Levin about his new book, Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War's Most Persistent Myth, I’d like to tell you about two other programs coming up soon in the McGowan Theater.

On Wednesday, September 25, at 7 p.m., we will show the feature documentary film A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps. The film tells agency’s story, from its founding almost 60 years to today's Peace Corps volunteers.

And on Thursday, October 3, at noon, Sarah Milov will be here to tell us about her new book, The Cigarette: A Political History.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Visit its website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about the Foundation and join online.

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A historian asks “What really happened?” And to find the answers to that question, a historian looks into the evidence—written documents, photographs, artifacts—preserved in archives, libraries, and historical collections.

Sifting through that evidence, uncovering the facts, helps us separate myth from reality. Sometimes the process is long or difficult, but the diligent researcher will be rewarded. Today we will hear from Kevin Levine about the results of his research and his quest to find out “what really happened” regarding black soldiers in the Confederate army.

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Kevin M. Levin is a historian and educator based in Boston. Over the past few years, he has worked extensively with teachers and students across the country to better understand the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate monuments. He has led history education workshops with a number of organizations, including the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre, the Georgia Historical Society, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. He is the author of Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder and editor of Interpreting the Civil War at Museums and Historic Sites. His writings have appeared in the Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, The Daily Beast, and the New York Times and he has appeared as a guest on NPR, C-SPAN, and Al-Jazeera.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kevin Levin.