VICTORY ACHIEVED FREEDOM DENIED: FROM CIVIL WAR TO RECONSTRUCTION IN KENTUCKY
March 8 & 9, 2012
Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville
The fourth scholarly symposium on the history of Louisville, Kentucky and the Ohio Valley focused on the latter years of the Civil War and Kentuckys post-war identity, the issues of race and equality, and the lives of women and solders.
After the Union victory, the United States faced two fundamental tasks during the reconstruction period (1865-1877). One was the need to redefine and re-normalize relations between the former Confederate states and the rest of the nation. The other was to redefine the role of race, the meaning of freedom and the place of African Americans in a society in which slavery was no longer legal and in which those formerly enslaved were presumably free and equal.
Kentucky was often at odds with national policy during this tumultuous time. The Civil War also disrupted normal political alliances within the state and created a vacuum in which competing interests strove for dominance. The result was a triumphant party comprised of conservatives and former Confederates who, failing to conquer Kentucky by the bullet, did so by ballot. By 1877, Kentucky was viewed as Southern in thought and sympathies and the promise of freedom for all Kentuckians had been betrayed.
Sponsored by the Frazier History Museum, whose support is made possible by the Institute of Museum & Library Services.
Partial sponsorship was provided by Carnegie Center for Art and History hosting The Life of Lucy Higgs Nichols exhibit. The exhibit tells Lucy Nichols story from her escape from slavery in 1862, through her service as a nurse with the 23rd Indiana Regiment during the Civil War, to her life in freedom in New Albany as an admired citizen whose wartime service earned her a nurses pension by a Special Act of Congress in 1898.
Symposium Program schedule: Civil War Symposium 2012 Program (PDF)