2015 SMU Stanton Sharp Lecture explores Texas’ hidden Civil War history, Wednesday, Oct. 14

2015 SMU Sharp Lecture, 'A War That Could Not End at Appomattox,' Gregory P. DownsWhen Texans study the history of the Civil War in grade school, they learn it ended when General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox on April 8, 1865, and that Texas played a relatively small role in the conflict.

Historian Greg Downs argues these lessons are wrong on both counts in his new book, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War. He will challenge the traditional teachings during a lecture, Q&A and book signing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“Greg Downs wants to challenge the idea the Civil War reached a neat and tidy end in April of 1865,” says History Chair Andrew Graybill. “What Greg does well is extend the geographical scope to the West. A big focus of his book is Texas, which was one of the last Confederate states to surrender.”

> More on the Stanton Sharp Lectures and Symposium

During Reconstruction, 50,000 Union Army troops were deployed to Texas, which proved the most difficult of the former Confederate states to subdue. At any given time between 1866 and 1870, 40 to 50 percent of the Union troops stationed in the south were garrisoned in Texas.

“People in Texas were still being bought and sold after Appomattox,” Downs says. “Texans still thought slavery would stay. Army officers were imprisoned and murdered in Texas. In some ways, the Civil War was just beginning in Texas as it was ending elsewhere in the South.”

Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History online: smu.edu/history

New DeGolyer Library exhibit features rare Civil War photographs

Pontoon Bridge over Rio Grande River at Brownsville.
Pontoon Bridge over Rio Grande River at Brownsville, ca. 1866, Louis de Planque (attributed) Robin Stanford Collection. View facing Levee Street in Brownsville during Federal occupation. African American soldier from 114th U.S. Colored Troops in the foreground.

A new exhibit at SMU’s DeGolyer Library features rare Civil War images of African American slave life, Southern battlefield scenes and camp life for Union and Confederate soldiers.

“The Civil War in Photographs: New Perspectives from the Robin Stanford Collection” (through March 15, 2013) represents the first time the more than 300 photographs and stereoscope views have been exhibited.

Robin Stanford of Houston has spent the last 40 years assembling the collection. Its strengths include pre-war and wartime Southern views by local photographers and views by northern photographers who documented Union-occupied areas of the South. Her collection also includes images of the daily life of soldiers at mealtime, playing cards and writing letters. Extremely rare Texas Civil War images also are included.

The highlights include:

  • Pre-war slave life with photographs of slave quarters, workshops and plantation life.
  • Images of a damaged Ft. Sumter, South Carolina, after Union troops surrendered and evacuated in 1861.
  • Battlegrounds and scenes rarely photographed, particularly in Southern locations such as Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • African American soldiers and regiments.
  • Union soldiers in Brownsville, Texas, guarding the U.S. border.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Library hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

A 95-page catalog of the exhibit, The Civil War in Photographs: New Perspectives from the Robin Stanford Collection, is available for $20. The catalog was created by exhibit curator Anne Peterson.

For more information, visit the DeGolyer Library homepage or call 214-768-2253.

Written by Nancy George

> See more photos from the exhibit at SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 4, 2010

Ray KurzweilBrown Bag, Part 1: SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies hosts a discussion of a 17th-century cultural upheaval in a Brown Bag Lecture at 12:30 Oct. 5. in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. “Now the God of the Spaniards is Dead”, presented by Clements Center Fellow Matthew Liebmann, chronicles the near-successful uprising of the Pueblo Native Americans in their quest to take back an occupied New Mexico from the Spanish in what is known as the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. As always, attendees are invited to bring a lunch. For more information, visit the Clements Center online.

A night for invention: The next installment of the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series features renowned inventor Ray Kurzweil (right) at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 in McFarlin Auditorium. Kurzweil is known for such inventions as the CCD flat-bed scanner, a print-to-speech reader for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of imitating instruments such as a grand piano, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition program. Kurzweil has won numerous awards including the 1999 National Medal of Technology and the MIT-Lemelson Prize (valued at $500,000.) He was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting the Tate Office at 214-768-8283.

Jim LehrerDallas journalist’s homecoming: The NewsHour‘s executive editor and anchor Jim Lehrer (right), who got his start working for The Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Times Herald, will give this year’s Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture In Media Ethics. Lehrer, who also frequently moderates presidential debates (including one between Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008,) will speak at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are free, but reservations are required. For information and reservations call 214-768-ARTS.

Revisiting old wounds: University of Richmond President Edward Ayers investigates the different and conflicting layers of loyalty among families and governments during the Civil War – and how these conflicting loyalties became the key struggle of the era – in a Stanton Sharp Lecture at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. Hosted by the Clements Department of History. Admission is free, reservations not required. For more information, call 214-768-2967 or email the Clements Department of History.

Brown Bag, Parts 2-6: Meadows’ famous Brown Bag Dance Series returns to dance another day (or five). Throughout this week (Oct. 4-8), the program will feature numerous short improvisations and exercises on original jazz, ballet and modern compositions created by students of the Meadows Division of Dance. The performances begin at noon Wednesday and Friday, and at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. All sessions will be performed in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free; bring your lunch. For more information, call 214-768-2718.