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"The Choked Voice of a Race, at Last Unloosed: African Americans and Civil War Music." A lecture and book signing sponsored by Friends of Alexandria Archaeology(FOAA). Music was more than mere entertainment during the Civil War and no one was more aware of its power than African Americans. Having long used music as a means of communication and resistance to slavery, they understood how a single performance could spread information and change perceptions. As wartime African Americans made the transition from slaves to freedmen and Union soldiers, they continually expressed themselves musically both for their own benefit and to influence white listeners. Indeed, music was one of the most effective ways for them to show their humanity and loyalty to the Union.
Christian McWhirter is an Assistant Editor for The Papers of Abraham Lincoln and the author of “Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music during the Civil War.” Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, he received his Doctorate in American History from The University of Alabama. He lives in Arlington with his wife Corrin and his son Dylan.