Slavery at the West Point of the Confederacy: the Little Round House

The Little Round House, 1862, at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa Speakers: Dr. Hilary N. Green and Dr. Steven Zucker

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Little Round House

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Key points

  • The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa was converted into a Confederate military school at the start of the U.S. Civil War. The Little Round House was essential to the alert system for the campus in the case of an attack. It also housed munitions. 
  • This and many other universities and institutions throughout the U.S. were built and sustained by the labor of enslaved people, yet their names and efforts are often left out of dominant narratives or public commemoration. Historians today are consciously looking to redress this balance of who is identified and celebrated in our understanding of the nation’s past.

Go deeper

The Hallowed Grounds Project: Race, Slavery and Memory at the University of Alabama (Dr. Hilary N. Green)

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth by Kevin M. Levin, University of North Carolina Press, 2019

More to think about

Look around your daily environment and ask yourself, “What am I not seeing?” What stories about the history of your university or community privilege the efforts of white leaders and overgeneralize or even omit the essential contributions of enslaved people or other undervalued laborers? What stories would you like to see have greater prominence and recognition? How can you contribute to making these stories more visible?

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