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William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War
Overview:
ArchiTreats: Food for Thought continues another year of informative talks on Alabama history at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Join us as Eric Walther presents William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War. Eric Walther’s talk, based on his recent biography of William Lowndes Yancey, could easily be titled “the making of a fire eater,” or “the Yancey that nobody knows.” Professor Walther will detail the many profound and troubling incidents in the early years of Yancey’s life in order to explain how this man transformed from a die-hard Unionist into Alabama’s premier secessionist. Family turbulence and violence combined with the hypocrisy and duplicity of his Northern step-father, resulting in Yancey’s early rejection and distrust of Northern society and his belief in the innate superiority of the slaveholding regime of the antebellum South. As disunion grew close in the 1850s, in a speech to students at the University of Alabama, Yancey all but pronounced himself the embodiment of the South and its leading defender. Eric Walther teaches U.S. History at the University of Houston. His specialty is the Antebellum South and the coming of the Civil War. He received a B.A. in History and American Studies from California State University, Fullerton and M. A. and Ph.D. degrees from Louisiana State University. Walther is the author of three books, numerous articles, and book reviews. Shattering of the Union: America in the 1850s, won a Choice Magazine book award in 2004. William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War was published by the University of North Carolina Press in the spring of 2006 and has received the James Rawley Award from the Southern Historical Association and the Jefferson Davis Award from the Mus eum of the Confederacy. This program is part of the statewide Becoming Alabama initiative to commemorate three landmark events in the development of Alabama: the Creek War of 1813‐1814, the CivilWar and Emancipation, and th e Civil Rights Movement. ArchiTreats: Food for Thought lecture series is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. The public is invited to bring a sack lunch and enjoy a bit of Alabama history. Coffee and tea will be provided by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. For more information, call (334) 353‐4726.


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Alabama's Civil War: Researching and Writing "Selma: A Novel of the Civil War"
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In Val L. McGee's new book, Selma: A Novel of the Civil War, hope is born of tragedy. Join us as McGee presents, "Alabama's Civil War: Researching and Writing Selma: A Novel of the Civil War." This ‘Bonus' ArchiTreats: Food for Thought presentation was held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The drama in Selma: A Novel of the Civil War is taken primarily from the pages of Alabama newspapers published in the early 1860s, available only through the reference room of the Alabama Archives. Selma also reflects research in more than 250 slave cases decided by the Alabama Supreme Court from 1819 to 1865 as published in the state Supreme Court's Alabama Reports. In this presentation McGee will share the historical research which informs almost every page of this novel and he will discuss the process of writing a historical novel. Reviewer Dr. Norwood Kerr noted that, "Selma is especially vivid in describing the pre-war ‘Queen City of the Black Belt.'... Moderate unionists, fire-eating secessionists, and free and enslaved blacks - Judge McGee gives voice to all with both precision and compassion." Val McGee is a past president of the Alabama Historical Association and the Friends of the Alabama Archives He is the author of Claybank Memories: A History of Dale County, Alabama; The Origins of Fort Rucker; and A Cross Above: A History of the First United Methodist Church of Ozark, Alabama. He served as an infantry officer at Camp Rucker and in Europe during World War II. An attorney by profession, he was an Alabama trial judge from 1981 to 1993. Selma is his first novel. This ‘Bonus' ArchiTreats is presented by the Alabama Department of Archives and History.  


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The Civil War in Alabama
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ArchiTreats: Food for Thought celebrates the Year of Alabama History through a series of sequential lectures in Alabama history by leading experts in the field. Enjoy this installment that was presented on Thursday, May 21 with Robert B. Bradley presenting The Civil War in Alabama. The Civil War in Alabama focuses upon the events and activities which took place within the state from secession until the final days of the war. According to Bradley, many of the most significant events which took place in Alabama are frequently treated as local history when, in fact, they were part of a much larger picture. The formation of the Confederate government, the decision to fire on Ft. Sumter, the occupation of north Alabama, Streight's raid, Rousseau's raid, the Selma manufacturing complex, and the campaign for Mobile are just a few of the topics examined in this program. Robert (Bob) Bradley is currently the Chief Curator at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. From 1974-1986, he was a historian with the National Park Service, specializing in the management, preservation, and interpretation of 18th- to mid 20th-century fortifications and military sites. Of his several assignments, his position as Chief Historian at Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston, South Carolina was his favorite. From 1986-1988 Bradley was Historic Sites Administrator for the Alabama Historical Commission. Since coming to the Archives in 1988 he has been responsible for the preservation, documentation, and conservation of the Department's collection of nearly a half-million artifacts. He is the author of Documenting the Civil War Period Flag Collection at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, which is available on the Department's web-site, and he has contributed to a wide variety of Civil War publications. He is also very active in Civil War battlefield preservation. This ArchiTreats presentation is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives and a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  


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