CANCELED--"For Liberty and Union": 2020 Signature Conference

UPDATE March 11, 2020: Our 2020 Signature Conference scheduled for April 3 has been canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment. For more information on UVA's current coronavirus polices and procedures, please see:


We are pleased to announce the speakers for our 2020 Signature Conference titled “For Liberty and Union: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War.” Historians Amy M. Taylor, Joseph P. Reidy, Emmanuel Dabney, and Holly Pinheiro will join UVA’s own Elizabeth Varon and William Kurtz to talk about the experiences of African Americans in the Union military during the war. The conference will take place at UVA’s Special Collections Library on Friday April 3 from 9AM to 5PM. The most recent books published by our participants will be available for purchase during our event.

At the conference the Nau Center will officially launch its "Black Virginians in Blue" digital project, a study of African American men from Albemarle County, Virginia, who served in the Union army or navy during the Civil War.

The conference is free and open to the public and no advance registration is required. Paid parking is available nearby at the Central Grounds Parking Garage located next to the UVA bookstore. Please be advised that unlike previous years you pay for your parking in advance, not when you leave the garage. Follow signs to use payment kiosks that are available on each floor of the parking garage. Please allow extra time to arrive at our conference as a result. You can also pay for your parking in advance using the ParkMobile app and reserving a space in "Zone 5515." We should be done no later than 4:30.

Please find our full schedule below. It can also downloaded at the following links. (Word) (PDF)

Conference Schedule

Session 1

9:00: Doors Open

9:50: Opening Remarks from Caroline E. Janney

10:00-10:30: Emmanuel Dabney, National Park Service, “Beyond Glory: Remembering the United States Colored Troops”

10:40-11:10: Elizabeth Varon, University of Virginia, “Men of Mark:  Black Commissioned Officers in the Union Army”

11:20-11:50: Joseph Reidy, Howard University, Emeritus, “Chaplain Henry M. Turner and the Moral Condition of the Colored Troops”

12:00-12:30: Question and Answer Session #1, Moderator Carrie Janney

12:30-1:30: Lunch

Session 2

1:40-2:10: Holly Pinheiro, Augusta University, “USCT Soldiers and Their Families Battle to Survive”

2:20-2:50 William Kurtz, University of Virginia, “Black Virginians in Blue: Albemarle County’s USCT Story”

3:00-3:30: Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky, “Uncovering the Military History of African American Women”

3:40-4:10: Question and Answer Session #2, Moderator Carrie Janney

4:15: Concluding Remarks from Caroline E. Janney

Friday, April 3, 2020
Time and Location: 
9:00AM-5:00PM, Harrison Institute & Small Special Collections Library Auditorium