Civil War Lecture Series-March 14, April 30, May 21, June 18

Page archived as of November 24, 2015

   Spring Lecture Series


Civil War 150 bannerThis spring, we turn our attention to the end of the war, and its aftermath . . . the ways that Americans viewed the struggle by 1865, and began to form their own understanding of it even as veterans were still returning from battlefields.  How would the nation heal this great wound, and HAS it entirely healed 150 years later?

Each presentation will be held in the Lecture Hall of The Lyceum --- Alexandria’s History Museum, at 7:30 PM, and a $5 donation is requested for each program.  Seating is limited, so please reserve your space early by visiting the Historic Alexandria Museum Store online, in person, or by calling The Lyceum at (703) 746-4994.


  • March 4, 2015 --- Iron Confederacies: Southern Railways, Klan Violence and Reconstruction, by Scott Nelson, The College of William & Mary

    Scott Reynolds Nelson is Legum Professor of History at the College of William and Mary.  He is the prizewinning author of five books on nineteenth-century American history.  The New York Times has most recently called him a “fascinating guide to the grim landscape of Reconstruction.”  His first book, Iron Confederacies, explored the birth of the first modern corporation – the Southern Railway – and its outsized influence in cementing the inequalities of the modern South. 

    UNC Press says about his book: Iron Confederacies uses the history of southern railways to explore linkages among the themes of states' rights, racial violence, labor strife, and big business in the nineteenth-century South.  By 1868, Ku Klux Klan leaders had begun mobilizing white resentment against rapid economic change by asserting that railroad consolidation led to political corruption and black economic success.  As Nelson notes, some of the Klan's most violent activity was concentrated along the Richmond-Atlanta rail corridor.  But conflicts over railroads were eventually resolved, he argues, in agreements between northern railroad barons and Klan leaders that allowed white terrorism against black voters while surrendering states' control over the southern economy.

  • April 30, 2015 --- Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, by Leslie Rowland, University of Maryland
  • May 21, 2015 --- “The Art of Memorializing the Civil War,”  by Susan Cumbey, Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site
  • June 18, 2015 --- Remembering the Civil War, by Caroline Janney, Purdue University