Historian Terry Beckenbaugh Examines the Role Of African-American Troops in the Civil War
July 5, 2013
On July 18, 1863, Union forces launched their second attack within a week on Fort Wagner, a Confederate stronghold guarding the southern approach to the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina.
Once again the federals failed to take Fort Wagner and suffered more than 1,500 casualties. But the assault by African-American troops of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry made the event a memorable one. The 54th was one of the first black Union units, and the battle demonstrated once again that African-American troops were willing to fight and die for the Union cause.
The attack on Fort Wagner provided the climax to the 1989 feature film Glory, for which Denzel Washington received an Academy Award.
On the 150th anniversary of the battle, historian Terry Beckenbaugh looks not only at Fort Wagner but at the overall contribution of black troops to the Union cause on Thursday, July 18, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Beckenbaugh is an assistant professor in the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Previously he has spoken at the Library on the first year of the Civil War in Missouri. He also has discussed Genghis Khan as part of the Library's Great Commanders series.
This program is part of the Library's Civil War Sesquicentennial series, co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.