Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers' Journey from Slave to Artist 

by Barbara Herkert

illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015

Ensconced between end-pages depicting photographs of the actual quilts sewn by Harriet Powers that now hang in the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is the fascinating story of this Georgia slave who later supported her family with the handicraft she learned on the plantation. Surrounded by women who sewed for slave owners by day and for their families by night, Harriet learned to quilt as a child while she listened to the stories of her people.

One of the leading historians of 19th century America is in Missoula to speak at the University of Montana. James Oakes teaches history at the City University of New York, and has written several award-winning books on the Civil War and slavery.

In this feature interview, Oakes talks with News Director Sally Mauk about the debate over whether the Civil War was fought over preserving the Union - or over slavery. Oakes says it most definitely was fought to end slavery.