As part of its 2013 Black History Month programming, Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library will host New York Times blogger and author Ronald S. Coddington on Tuesday, February 12 at noon. Coddington will discuss his new book of rare photographs titled, African American Faces of the Civil War.
A renowned collector of Civil War photographs and a prodigious researcher, Coddington combines compelling archival images with biographical stories that reveal the human side of the war. This third volume in his series on Civil War soldiers contains previously unpublished photographs of African American Civil War participants—many of whom fought to secure their freedom.
During the Civil War, 200,000 African American men enlisted in the Union army or navy. Some of them were free men and some escaped from slavery; others were released by sympathetic owners to serve the war effort. African American Faces of the Civil War tells the story of the Civil War through the images of men of color who served in roles that ranged from servants and laborers to enlisted men and junior officers.
Coddington discovers these portraits—cartes de visite, ambrotypes, and tintypes—in museums, archives, and private collections. He has pieced together each individual's life and fate based upon personal documents, military records, and pension files. These stories tell of ordinary men who became fighters, of the prejudice they faced, and of the challenges they endured. African American Faces of the Civil War makes an important contribution to a comparatively understudied aspect of the war and provides a fascinating look into lives that helped shape America.
"Coddington's use of African American-owned newspapers and pension records is groundbreaking" said Publisher's Weekly in its Starred Review. "It does nothing to diminish the depth and precision of Coddington's research to say that each compelling vignette prompts the reader to hurriedly flip to the next one."