Clark Art Lecture on the Influence of Photography on African-American Civil War Narratives /

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Clark Art Institute presents a virtual lecture by Deborah Willis, author of “The Black Civil War Soldier”, exploring the role of photography in shaping African-American narratives of the Civil War.

Willis’ talk, “(Re)telling Stories in Photography About The Black Civil War Soldier,” will be streamed via Zoom and Facebook Live (@clarkartinstitute) on Saturday, April 9 at 2 p.m.

Although the Union and Confederate armies excluded African American men from their initial calls to arms, many of the men who eventually served were black. Simultaneously, the emerging art of photography flourished, marking the Civil War as the first conflict to be widely documented by photographs.

In her book, Willis shows how photography helped build a national view of blackness, war, and servitude, and uses these early photographs to uncover the hidden stories of black Civil War soldiers. Willis has compiled a captivating memoir of photographs and words and examines them together to address themes of love and desire; responsibility and fear; commitment and patriotism; and, above all, African-American resilience.

Willis’ talk is presented in conjunction with Clark’s exhibition “As They Saw It: Artists Witnessing War”. On view at the Eugene V. Thaw Gallery at Clark’s Manton Research Center through May 30, this exhibit showcases four centuries of wartime images from Europe and the United States.

Prior registration is required to view the Zoom transmission. Registrants will receive an email with a private Zoom link prior to the event. The event will also be broadcast via Facebook Live. For more information and to register, visit

Key words: ClarkArt,

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