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Re-telling Stories in Photography about The Black Civil War Soldier, with Dr. Deborah Willis

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April 14, 6:00 pm7:00 pm

International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum
3415 Olive St.
St. Louis, MO 63103 United States

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Re-telling Stories in Photography about The Black Civil War Soldier, with Dr. Deborah Willis

Thursday, April 14th 2022
Online: 6-7pm CST

Though both the Union and Confederate armies excluded African American men from their initial calls to arms, many of the men who eventually served were black. Simultaneously, photography culture blossomed—marking the Civil War as the first conflict to be extensively documented through photographs. In The Black Civil War Soldier, Deborah Willis explores the crucial role of photography in (re)telling and shaping African American narratives of the Civil War. This book shows how photography helped construct a national vision of blackness, war, and bondage, while unearthing the hidden histories of these black Civil War soldiers. Willis has compiled a captivating memoir of photographs and words and examines them together to address themes of love and longing; responsibility and fear; commitment and patriotism; and—most predominantly—African American resilience.

Deborah Willis, PhD, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  She is the author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, among others. Professor Willis’s curated exhibitions include: “Framing Moments in the KIA,” “Migrations and Meanings in Art”, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits” at the International Center of Photography; Out of Fashion Photography; Framing Beauty at the Henry Art Gallery and “Reframing Beauty: Intimate Moments” at Indiana University.

Image: © Deborah Willis and NYU Press

Admission: $10 Non-Members/$5 Seniors and Students/Members Free

Members/1839 Society: Reserve Your Free Ticket Here.

Please call (314) 535-1999 or email [email protected] for further assistance 

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