Programs Explore African American History
Press Release · Thursday, January 30, 2020

Washington, DC

To honor African American History month, the National Archives presents several author book talks. Each program will be followed by a book signing.

These programs are free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at Seventh Street, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. For those without reservations, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The theater doors will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program. Late seating will not be permitted 20 minutes after the program begins.

Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy
Monday, February 3, at noon
Reserve a seat; watch the live stream on our
YouTube Channel
By the 1890s, Wilmington was North Carolina’s largest city and a shining example of a mixed-race community with a burgeoning African American middle class. In 1898, North Carolina’s white supremacist Democrats were plotting to take back the state legislature in November “by the ballot or bullet or both.” In Wilmington’s Lie, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Zucchino tells the story of intimidation and violence, stuffed ballot boxes, and thousands of armed men who killed at least 60 black men in the streets. This brutal insurrection is a rare instance of a violent overthrow of an elected government in the United States.

Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era
Tuesday, February 18, at noon
Reserve a seat; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel

Investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell takes readers on the twisting road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings during the civil rights movement. His work played a central role in bringing killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, and the Mississippi Burning case. 

Congress at War: How Republican Reformers Fought the Civil War, Defied Lincoln, Ended Slavery, and Remade America
Tuesday, February 25, at noon
Reserve a seat; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel

In Congress at War, Fergus Bordewich shows how a newly empowered Republican Party shaped one of the most dynamic and consequential periods in American history. From reinventing the nation’s financial system to pushing President Lincoln to emancipate the slaves to the planning for Reconstruction, Congress undertook drastic measures to defeat the Confederacy, and in the process laid the foundation for a strong central government. 

Beyond Charlottesville
Thursday, February 27, at 7 p.m.
Reserve a seat; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel

Governor Terry McAuliffe will discuss his recent book,  Beyond Charlottesville. The book tells the behind-the-scenes story of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and shows how other “Charlottesvilles” can be prevented from happening. Joining Governor McAuliffe on stage will be former members of Congress and journalist Sam Fulwood III, senior fellow for Politics and Elections at American Progress. The discussion will focus on what history teaches us about coming together as a nation. 

Presented in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.

Related exhibits in DC and online: The “Records of Rights” permanent exhibit uses original documents, photographs, videos, and interactive exhibits to explore how Americans have worked to realize the ideals of freedom enshrined in our nation’s founding documents. A special section of this exhibit, “Bending toward Justice,” showcases the drive for civil rights for African Americans.

See our special African American History web page highlighting National Archives’ resources.


# # #

For press information contact the National Archives Public and Media Communications Staff via email at

Connect with the National Archives on:
Twitter logo icon Twitter: @USNatArchives
Facebook logo icon Facebook: USNationalArchives
Tumblr icon Tumblr: usnatarchives
Instagram logo icon Instagram: usnatarchives






This page was last reviewed on January 30, 2020.
Contact us with questions or comments.