Dinner and a Talk

Professor Gaines M Foster

“Civil War Memories: The Historical Roots of Contemporary Debates”

Wednesday, 14 July 2021
Dinner at 6 pm

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Stay tuned for our next dinner/lecture in August. 

In the wake of the Civil War, three distinct memories of the Civil War emerged, those of African Americans, the white North, and the white South.  Each rooted in a similar theological perspective, covenantal theology, the three memories interpreted the war’s cause and meaning in dramatically different ways.  African Americans stressed slavery as the cause and emancipation as the war’s greatest achievement.  The white North did not ignore slavery as a cause but primarily celebrated the North’s achievement in preserving the Union.  The white South denied the role of slavery and interpreted the war as the Confederate’s battle for states’ rights; it celebrated the heroism of the Confederate soldier and the skills of Confederate leaders.   By the early twentieth century, the North and South had achieved not just reunion but reconciliation, based in part on a mutual romanticism of the war and celebration of the soldiers, along with a tacit agreement to ignore its issues.  Neither had changes its mind about those issues, however, and both ignored the African American memory with its emphasis on emancipation.   Since the Civil Rights movements ignoring the war’s issues has come under significant challenge.

Our speaker

Dr. Gaines M. Foster, LSU Foundation Murphy J. Foster Professor at LSU.  


Dr. Foster is a distinguished historian who has focused his career on Southern history.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wofford College in 1971 and has a M.A. and Ph. D from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  Dr. Foster began his career as a military historian working for the US Army Center of Military History. He joined LSU in 1982 and has been the Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor, and T. Harry Williams Professor. He has been the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as the Chair of the Department of History at LSU. Dr. Foster will be giving us a lecture entitiled “Civil War Memories: The Historical Roots of Contemporary Debates”

If you have any questions, please email us at:  OMHA@oldmandevillehistoricassociation.org