About the Live Event
On September 17th, 2012, National Constitution Day, the NEH hosted a panel of renowned Civil War scholars at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History for a discussion about emancipation. They were joined by a live audience of 250 students from Washington, D.C. area colleges and universities. With support from the Smithsonian, this performance was live-streamed to classrooms and gatherings nationwide called “watch parties”. The conversation, available here featured University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers moderating historians Eric Foner (Columbia University), Thavolia Glymph (Duke University), Gary Gallagher (University of Virginia) and Christy Coleman (American Civil War Center). The historians recreated the national scene and the dilemmas facing Americans on Sept. 22, 1862 without drawing on their knowledge of what would unfold over the next few months and years. Perspectives from the White House, enslaved people from the South, military personnel, Frederick Douglass, Northern free blacks, and their allies were highlighted in this presentation.
This conversation encourages the students to put greater consideration on the immediate and long term implications of emancipation as it relates to the U.S. Constitution.