AAMLO Celebrates the Secret Life of Mary Boswer, A Black Spy in the Confederate White House

Release Date: 
Fri, 06/29/2012

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation with a fascinating program about Mary Bowser, a Union spy who posed as a slave in the Confederate White House. Lois Leveen, author of THE SECRETS OF MARY BOWSER (HarperCollins/William Morrow 2012) will appear at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland (AAMLO) on Saturday, July 28 at 2pm. Ms. Leveen, an award-winning author, will share insights about America's most contested history.

"Thanks in large part to the film Glory, the contributions of black soldiers during the Civil War have become well known. Now we can learn about the incredible role one African American woman played in the war - a role that took her to the very heart of the Confederacy," says Leveen, who recently published new historical findings about Bowser in The New York Times.

Leveen adds: "Audiences around the country have been amazed to learn about [Mary Boswer's] espionage. We all have causes we care about - but what would it mean to make the kind of choices Bowser made, and to live with violence, displacement, and danger as a result?"

The AAMLO program will provide Bay Area residents an opportunity to reflect on how to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war. Because the 100th anniversary of the Civil War coincided with the Civil Rights movement, there were some highly contentious differences about how to remember the root causes of the war, especially slavery. Fifty years later, Americans are more committed to understanding African American history as part of our national history, and to celebrate the roles blacks played in ending slavery.

About Lois Leveen: Award-winning author Lois Leveen earned degrees in history and literature from Harvard, the University of Southern California, and UCLA, and taught at UCLA and at Reed College. She is a regular contributer to Disunion, the New York Times coverage of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and gives talks about American history and social justice throughout the country. Her novel, THE SECRETS OF MARY BOWSER, incorporates extensive historical research to give voice to this courageous but little-known spy.