Those of you in the Richmond area should make it a point to check out Ray Carver’s one-man show, “Gettysburg 1963” which will premier at the Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church on Saturday February 23. I was invited to participate in a panel discussion following the show, but the organizer didn’t realize that I no longer live in Virginia. It’s times like these that I really miss the Old Dominion. There is just so much going on in the Richmond area alone.
I would love to see more museums and other historical institutions use social media to share lessons learned from visitors. Here are two short interviews with participants, who attended a talk on the Emancipation Proclamation at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. They are, indeed, voices of the Civil War – our voices.
John Christopher Winsmith was what historian Jason Phillips refers to as a “diehard rebel.” Throughout the war, Winsmith never wavered in his enthusiasm for the cause. He believed that it was incumbent on everyone in the Confederacy to make the necessary sacrifices in the army and on the home front. In letters that routinely characterized the Lincoln and the Yankee army as “invaders” and “abolitionists” it is clear that Winsmith viewed the struggle as a war to protect slavery. Winsmith’s father, who served in the state legislature in 1860, introduced the following resolution immediately after Lincoln’s election to the presidency:
That this General Assembly is satisfied that Abram Lincoln has already been elected President of the United States, and that said election has been based upon principles of open and avowed hostility to the social organization and peculiar interests of the slave holding states of this Confederacy.
The father fully supported the war effort by purchasing Confederate bonds as well as his sons efforts to earn promotion.
We shall see whether it is possible to fit in two separate trips. Either way, these are the places that I hope to have students think about in connection to the memory of emancipation and Union, the role of the citizen soldier in the war, and especially the remembrance of death and sacrifice. Feel free to suggest additional sites.
This first video is perfect for a course on Lincoln and/or Civil War memory. It provides a nice overview of how Lincoln has been interpreted in Hollywood movies and television since 1915. The only reference that I was unfamiliar with is the recent short animation, Robot Chicken: Jedi in Chief, in which George W. Bush faces off against Lincoln. Enjoy.