McMurry Professor Dr. Don Frazier to Give Book Talk in Boston

  Gary Ellison
  Friday, February 6, 2015 10:37 AM
  Archives 2014 - 2015

Abilene, TX

McMurry University History Professor and award-winning author Dr. Don Frazier will present a book talk on his newest Civil War book, Blood on the Bayou: Vicksburg, Port Hudson, and the Trans-Mississippi, at noon Tuesday, March 10, at the Boston Athenaeum in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the book, Dr. Frazier recasts a well-known story of the struggle for control of the Mississippi in the American Civil War as a contest for control of the Confederacy’s African-American populations. Although Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863, the task of moving these liberated people into the Union and making use of their labor in the war effort fell to the Federal army and navy. Frazier’s book shows how the campaign to reduce Rebel forts west of the river also involved the creation of a black army of occupation and a remaking of the social and political landscape of Louisiana and the nation.

Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States. It grew out of a slightly earlier organization known as the Anthology Society which had been formed in 1805 by a group of Bostonians with the primary purpose of producing a magazine that they called The Monthly Anthology and Boston Review. In creating the Boston Athenæum, their purpose was to form "an establishment similar to that of the Athenæum and Lyceum of Liverpool in Great Britain; combining the advantages of a public library [and] containing the great works of learning and science in all languages."

The new Athenæum flourished in culture-starved Boston and, as it voraciously acquired books, art, and artifacts, it grew rapidly. In 1827, it added an Art Gallery and began a series of yearly exhibitions of American and European art. For nearly half a century the Athenæum was the unchallenged center of intellectual life in Boston, and by 1851, had become one of the largest libraries in the United States.

Today its collections comprise over half a million volumes, with particular strengths in Boston history, New England state and local history, biography, English and American literature, and the fine and decorative arts. The Athenæum supports a dynamic exhibition program and sponsors a lively variety of events such as lectures and concerts. It also serves as a stimulating center for discussions among scholars, bibliophiles, and a variety of community-interest groups.

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Gary Ellison