Civil War programs are supported, in part, by a generous grant from Wells Fargo.

SUNDAY SCHOLAR SERIES: The Civil War and the American Spirit

2 pm

October 9
How the Civil War Transformed American Literature

Literature helped spark the Civil War and when it was over, American literature, like all else in the country, changed. Dr. Randall Fuller takes an in-depth look at the work of America’s famous poet Walt Whitman, who, seared by his experiences as a volunteer nurse in Civil War hospitals, wrote, at the war’s end, less about ideals and more about people’s day-to-day struggles.

November 20
Music, the Civil War, and American Memory

Dr. Lawrence Kramer focuses on music from the Civil War through the Vietnam War as well as Walt Whitman’s collection of Civil War poems, Drum-Taps, which is steeped in musical language. It is a clear departure from the heroic war narratives that defined epic poetry passed down to us from ancient Greece.

December 18
Lincoln and New York

An entertaining and illuminating hour that features passages from Lincoln’s inauguration and his speeches from tours through Peekskill, Albany, Western New York, and at New York City’s Cooper Union, with commentary by Harold Holzer, one of the country’s leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era, and award-winning actor Stephen Lang.

Randall Fuller, who presents How the Civil War Transformed American Literature on October 9, is Department Chair and Chapman Professor of English at the University of Tulsa and has authored From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature, and Emerson’s Ghosts: Literature, Politics, and the Making of Americanists. Composer and musicologist Lawrence Kramer, Distinguished Professor of English and Music at Fordham University, discusses the stirring music we associate with America’s wars on November 20. Author of numerous books and articles about music, he edits the journal Nineteenth-Century Music, and the new edition of Walt Whitman’s Drum-Taps. Harold Holzer and Stephen Lang bring the words and memories of Lincoln to life on December 18. Harold Holzer is the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, and winner of the 2015 Gilder-Lehrman Lincoln Prize. Stephen Lang, highly regarded for his work on stage and in film, is well acquainted with the Civil War’s powerful personalities. He played Major General George E. Pickett in Gettysburg , 1993, and the lead role of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in the Gettysburg prequel Gods and Generals (2003). This year he stars in the thriller Don’t Breathe.

KendiFebruary 26
Stamped from the Beginning
with Ibram X. Kendi

Award-winning historian Kendi sheds much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas in American society. In his book Stamped from the Beginning, he offers the tools to expose them and gives us reason to hope. He draws his presentation from the book’s chapters on Reconstruction and slavery.

“In Stamped From the Beginning, [The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America], Kendi’s engrossing and relentless intellectual history of prejudice in America, almost everyone is some kind of racist, whether wielding a whip or unfurling a protest banner.”
The Washington Post, April 15, 2016

An assistant professor of African American History at the University of Florida, Ibram X. Kendi’s writings keep him at the top of the media, appearing in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, The Root, and more. A popular and frequent speaker, Kendi claims that studying the racist ideas entrenched in our society will enable us to develop a more equitable America.

March 19
How to Get Away with the Truth:
Sojourner Truth, Race, Religion and Gender in 19th century AmericaGault
with Dr. Erika D. Gault

From reality TV shows like Love & Basketball to Shonda Rhimes’ hit How to Get Away With Murder, media representations of Black women have been complex. Gault, poet, minister, and historian, explores how Black women use language and their own bodies to speak truthfully about race, religion, and gender in America.

History, religion, and poetry are all Erika Gault’s interests and link every facet of her work. Earning her Ph.D. from the University of New York at Buffalo, she is now an ordained minister and an Assistant Professor of History and Religion at Hilbert College, where she focuses on urban black life today and how we perceive it in spoken word and on TV — a natural field for Gault, who among her many accomplishments placed first in the 2012 Toronto International Poetry Slam.

This program, which is free and open to the public, is made possible through the support of the New York Council for the Humanities’ Public Scholars program.

SATURDAY STORIES: All About the Civil War

1 & 3 pm

The Museum’s Junior Docents read these captivating tales.
After, take an interactive tour of The Blue and The Gray, and enjoy
Family Guide activities.

October 8
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

by Carole Boston Weatherford

November 12
Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride

by Andrea Davis Pinkney

December 10
Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky

by Faith Ringgold

January 14
Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

by Ellen Levine

February 11
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

by Deborah Hopkinson


SUNDAY STORIES: A Civil War Story Series

1 & 3 pm

With Teaching Artist-in-Residence Vienna Carroll
and Performer Keith Johnston

Performances 30 minutes.
Music, drama, and discussion.
Be prepared to sing!

The art of Red Grooms and the history of Westchester are catalysts for these stories that explore the contributions of African Americans to the Civil War. The stories are based on the 19th-century African American community in Westchester County, called The Hills.

October 16
Mr. Lincoln In Peekskill

Members from The Hills’ Methodist-Episcopal Zion Church of Colored People attend President Lincoln’s Peekskill speech.

October 23
Generals, Gentlemen, and the Draft

Despite draft riots and heated opposition, Simeon Tierce of The Hills decides to enlist. Following, discussion about conscription and the Westchester Draft Riots.

November 13
Lady Spies and the Slave Grapevine

A former slave and fugitive from Maryland describes her life as the lady’s maid of a secret Union sympathizer to her new friends in The Hills.

December 11
Frederick Douglass, Freedman and Abolitionist

This great activist attends an abolitionist meeting at the Methodist-Episcopal Zion Chuch of Colored People in The Hills.

January 29
United States Colored Troops: Black Sailors and Soldiers

Letters from Sergeant Simeon Tierce of The Hills to his wife.

February 12
Harriet Tubman, Freedom Fighter and Civil War Hero

The Methodist-Episcopal Zion Church of Colored People at The Hills honors “Moses” Harriet Tubman after the Combahee River Raid.

COFFEE AND CONVERSATION: The Civil War Through Lincolnís Speeches

Saturdays 11 am - 12:30 pm

November 19 and December 3
Coffee and refreshments provided.

Appreciate the rhetoric and moral transformation of Abraham Lincoln, whose words are a window into the mind of a politician as well as a man thinking deeply about the issues facing a changing nation. Explore nine of his speeches from 1838 to 1865. At the first session, October 15, meet your program leader, borrow your book, Lincoln on the Civil War, and take a Curators Tour of the Red Grooms Civil War exhibitions.


Wednesdays 1:30 pm, Gallery Tour follows - 3 pm
Lifelong Learning for Adults

Docent Tours of Red Grooms: The Blue and The Gray 3 pm

November 9
Civil War Songs
With Singers and Songwriters Matt Turk and Jim Keyes

Matt and Jim (right) perform American classics and popular songs from Civil War times.

 December 14
Painting the Civil War

A Talk with Red and Lysiane Luong Grooms
and Laura Vookles, Chair, Curatorial Department

Red Grooms has made Civil War paintings for almost 20 years. He and his wife, artist Lysiane Luong Grooms, tell us how the work began, why it fascinates them, and its relevance to our memories of history.