Evaluating the Civil War Sesquicentennial

First, let me apologize for the lack of posts. I had an idea prepared but real life made me reconsider posting. In fact, blogging in general has gone in a direction that I’m not interested in. So the posts will be much more infrequent which inevitably will mean some of you will forget about the blog. I am sorry about that.

That said, back in August I was on a panel with several other folks regarding an assessment of the Civil War 150th. I will maintain that I am tired of the narrative that the 150th was a “failure” simply because each event didn’t have 50,000 people at them. The 150th commemorations varied in scale, places, and indeed more people saw more about the Civil War than they did during the centennial. I know for one, no one in my family attended anything during the 1960s commemorations when they were still attending segregated schools in Southside Virginia. Yet, members of my family did join me on some programs during the 150th.

The 2011-15 commemorations and promotion had the benefit of not only print media and word of mouth, but social media platforms online.

The link to the conversation can be found here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?327502-2/discussion-evaluating-sesquicentennial and I welcome any sane feedback.




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6 responses to “Evaluating the Civil War Sesquicentennial

  1. Watched the video. You gave some challenging thoughts. Thanks.

  2. Ben Brockenbrough

    I watched the Emerging Civil War video last night and I agree with your assessment. If it did nothing else the Civil War Sesquicentennial made an immense contribution to the national discourse by broadening the discussion and welcoming all viewpoints to be heard, and by prompting people to re-examine long-held assumptions. That is a sea change in our society, to my mind a success impossible to overstate.

    • Thanks Ben for watching and commenting.

      I just find the breadth of where and who covered the Civil War to be the greatest piece of evidence that ok so 50,000 people didn’t come to every single event. In part, because the historical community was able to show that the war happened in the places we continue to constantly remember as well as those places forgotten. That the Civil War was battlefields, slave quarters, plantation houses, churches, factories, and hospitals among many other places/spaces.

  3. Saw your presentation on CSPAN tonight. Very good. What books on the Freedmen’s Bureau do you like the best?

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