Kelly D. Mezurek is a professor of history at Walsh University, where she teaches United States history. Her book, For their Own Cause: The 27th United States Colored Troops (The Kent State University Press, 2016), is a 2017 Ohioana Book Award Finalist in nonfiction. Mezurek’s essay, “‘De Bottom Rails on Top Now’: Black Union Guards and Confederate Prisoners of War,” will be included in Crossing the Deadlines: Civil War Prisons Reconsidered (forthcoming October 2018), a collection edited by Michael P. Gray. Mezurek is on the advisory board for the Emerging Civil War Book Series with the Southern Illinois University Press, serves on the executive board of the Ohio Academy of History, and was a representative on the Ohio Civil War 150 Advisory Committee.
Letters Home: Ohioans and Their Wartime Correspondence
Letters served as the main source of communications between soldiers, nurses, and other military support personnel and their communities during the American wars of the 18th through mid-20th centuries. The written word connected the individuals far from home to their families and friends, providing comfort, support, and the exchange of news. This talk illuminates how private wartime letters provide insight into the personal, lived experiences of Ohioans from the earliest days of statehood to the Vietnam War, and how, through their own words, we might better understand the transformative nature of war on American society, and how society reacted to and affected U.S. military actions.
Ohio Women and the Civil War Home Front
Ohio’s political and military importance to the Union victory are widely known, but often less understood is the vital contribution made by the state’s female population. This presentation demonstrates the importance of Ohio’s women by exploring their wartime activities on the home front, focusing largely on the Soldiers Aid Societies and the Sanitary Fairs in Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Black Men in Blue: The Civil War, Ohioans, and the United States Colored Troops
This presentation focuses on the Ohio black community’s response to the national conflict, the wartime participation of free black men, and the impact of their service on white Ohioans. Special attention is given to the 5th and 27th USCT.
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