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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

9. Social

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Activities: Author Activities

Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt - Selected Archive Items

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[1927] William M. Smith, [Untitled] (1865),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-B8171-7861].
This picture shows African American soldiers who comprised the band of the 107th Colored Infantry: one of the many contradictions of the Civil War was that African American soldiers fought for the Confederacy to protect the institution of slavery, and others fought for the Union, where they were denied equal treatment before the law. Of the many writers whose work was affected by the Civil War, poet Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt stands out for holding both the North and the South responsible for the war and its carnage. Though she lived in Union territory, her life and poetry were informed by the perspective of her southern childhood: her parents owned slaves, and she acknowledged her complicity in the forces that caused the devastation she described in her poems.

[7632] Keystone View Company, Burial of Victims of the Maine in their Final Resting Place, Arlington Cemetery, VA, Dec. 28, 1899 (1899),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-92665].
Photograph of caskets, draped with the American flag and lined in rows, ready for burial at the Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. Four million people visit the cemetery annually to pay tribute to war heroes, to attend funeral services, and to view headstones that tell America's history.

[7634] Anonymous, National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia (c. 1910-50),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, [LC-USZ62- 91935].
Photograph of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, with the Memorial Amphitheater in the foreground. The amphitheater was dedicated in 1920 after a campaign for its construction by Judge Ivory G. Kimball, who wanted to have an assembling place for honoring defenders of America.

[9140] Robert Browning, "My Last Duchess" (1842),
courtesy of Project Gutenberg.
Browning's poem "My Last Duchess" is a quintessential example of the poetic genre of the dramatic monologue. The first-person speaker is a duke who hints at the murder of his wife, even as he arranges for a new marriage.

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