A stunning collection of stoic portraits and intimate ephemera from the lives of Black Civil War soldiers
The Black Civil War Soldier offers a kaleidoscopic yet intimate portrait of the African American experience, from the beginning of the Civil War to 1900. Through her multimedia analysis, Willis acutely pinpoints the importance of African American communities in the development and prosecution of the war. The book shows how photography helped construct a national vision of blackness, war, and bondage, while unearthing the hidden histories of these black Civil War soldiers. In combating the erasure of this often overlooked history, Willis asks how these images might offer a more nuanced memory of African-American participation in the Civil War, and in doing so, points to individual and collective struggles for citizenship and remembrance.
Deborah Willis is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis, and Africana Studies. Willis is the author of Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present; Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers - 1840 to the Present; Let Your Motto be Resistance - African American Portraits; Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery with Barbara Krauthamer; and Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs. Both Envisioning Emancipation and Michelle Obama received NAACP Image Awards.