Beyond the Myths: The American Civil War in History and Memory Series

Join Charlotte Mecklenburg Library for the Beyond the Myths series

Roots are anchors. Their depths and numbers show the foundation to one's origin and ones' true potential. One must find his or her own roots in order to know where he or she is going. These roots provide a sense of togetherness and belonging to a larger community. For African Americans, uncovering these roots may prove much more challenging.

Please join us for an exciting series of events Beyond the Myths: The American Civil War in History and Memory beginning February 21, 2019 through March 13, 2019. The project is sponsored by a collaboration between Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Atkins Library's Department of History at UNC Charlotte with a Civil War focus. The project will contrast the history with the myths and discuss the history and future of the Civil War monuments. 

As part of the Beyond the Myths project, Mecklenburg Library's Sugar Creek location hosts African-American genealogist, librarian and activist Marcellaus Joiner on February 27, 2019. Mr. Joiner presents a telling genealogy workshop for African Americans. Learn how to go beyond the myths and get started on the journey to reconnect with your heritage in a workshop setting while exploring the Civil War through history and memory. Mr. Joiner will guide participants through the challenging and daunting task through a 90-minute workshop—all for free.

Marcellaus A. Joiner is a librarian and genealogist at the Heritage Research Center at the High Point Public Library and the Archivist for the High Point Museum in High Point, North Carolina. He has a History from North Carolina A&T State University and a Masters of Library Science from North Carolina Central University.

On March 5, 2019, the Library will also present a screening of the movie Free State of Jones  which is based on the story of the revolt against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi. The movie will be introduced by Library historian Tom Cole with a discussion on its historical significance.

Here is the complete list of events being highlighted in the Beyond the Myths program. The programs were created in collaboration between librarians, faculty and instructors of both institutions. All programs are free and open to the public.

Feb. 21, 2019 – 6:30 p.m.
Halton Reading Room, Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
North Carolina's Role in American Civil War History and Memory

As the first event in the Beyond the Myths: The American Civil War in History and Memory series, Dr. Paul Escott, Reynolds Professor of History Emeritus at Wake Forest University, will speak on North Carolina's role in the Confederacy—the history, controversies and resistance. He will contrast the history with the myths and discuss the history of the Confederate monuments in North Carolina.  

Dr. Escott is also a former Chair of the History Department at UNC Charlotte. Some of his books are: After Secession: Jefferson Davis and the Failure of Confederate Nationalism; Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900; Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives; Paying Freedom’s Price: A History of African Americans in the Civil War; The Confederacy: The Slaveholders’ Failed Venture, and Rethinking the Civil War Era: Directions for Research. He is also the editor of North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Register here

Feb. 26, 2019 – 4:30 p.m.
Room 125, Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
Genealogy Workshop with geneologist Donna Gunter

Join North Carolina Genealogist and Former Atkins Librarian Donna Gunter as she presents a program on how to search your family history. Ms. Gunter will also share her personal genealogy history as a descendant of the North Carolina Shelton family. The Shelton family is noted in Western North Carolina for the Shelton Laurel Massacre, the January 1863 execution of 13 of its members. The execution was led by Confederate Officer James A. Keith and carried out by the 64th North Carolina Regiment. Those murdered were 13 boys and men ranged in age from 12 to 63. 

No registration required

Feb. 27, 2019 – 6:00 p.m.
Sugar Creek Library
Genealogy Workshop for African American with genealogist Marcellaus Joiner

Join genealogist, librarian and activist Marcellaus Joiner for a special genealogy program specifically designed for African American research. Mr. Joiner is affiliated with the Heritage Research Center at the High Point Public Library. Marcellaus A. Joiner has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from North Carolina A&T State University and a Masters of Library Science from North Carolina Central University.


Mar. 4, 2019 – 5:00 p. m.
Sugar Creek Library
Film Screening of Free State of Jones

Free State of Jones, a 2016 movie starring Matthew McConaughey, is based on the true story of Mississippian Newton Knight and is written by Historian Victoria Bynum, a descendant of Knight. Knight was a Southerner fighting as a Confederate soldier when he tired of fighting a “rich man’s war,” deserted and formed his own alliance against the Confederacy. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Historian and UNC Charlotte instructor Tom Cole will introduce the film and discuss its historical significance.  


Mar. 13, 2019 – 6:30 p.m.
Auditorium, UNC Charlotte Center City, 320 E 9th St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Panel Presentation and Closing Reception

Join UNC Charlotte Professor of History Dr. Karen Cox as she leads a discussion on the history, controversy and future of Civil War memorials in a panel presentation, "Commemorating the Confederacy: History, Memory and Meaning" at UNC Charlotte's Center City auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.  Joining Dr. Cox are guest scholars Dr. William Sturkey, Assistant Professor of History at UNC Chapel Hill and Dr. Hilary Green, Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama.

Dr. Cox is an expert on Southern history and culture, and has written extensively on Confederate monuments and memory for the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of three books, including: Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and The Preservation of Confederate Culture, which will be reissued with a new preface in March 2019.

Dr. Green's research interests lie in the intersections of race, class and gender in African American history. She also specializes in the American Civil War, Civil War Memory, Reconstruction and the United States South. She is the author of Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South 1865-1890, and she is currently working on a book about how African Americans remembered and commemorated the American Civil War.

Dr. Sturkey specializes in the history of race in the American South, with numerous writings on the topic. He is co-editor of To Write in the Light of Freedom, and the author of Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White, due to be published in Spring 2019.

Register here