Civil War Conference at Norfolk State Looks at Slavery
The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission is sponsoring a conference on September 24th at Norfolk State University.
This will be the second of what will finally be seven Signature Conferences staged by the Commission marking the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.
Howell: What we've done in Virginia is try and set up a process that will be educational, that will be informative, that will help with tourism.
Bill Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates, Chairs the Commission.
Howell: The 150th anniversary of the war actually begins in 2011. The first major battle of the American Civil War was fought in Virginia at Manassas, First Manassas or Bull Run and interestingly, the last major engagement was at Appomattox, so Virginia was for the bookends of the War.
Howell represents Fredericksburg and part of Stafford County.
Howell: There probably is not a part of Virginia that was not touched in one way of another by the ravages of the American Civil War. One of the things that we've done from an educational standpoint is we've created a series of conferences that are going to be held one a year through 2015.
The first was at the University of Richmond in April of last year. UR’s President, Dr. Edward Ayers, a renowned civil war scholar, led a discussion about America on the Eve of the Civil War.
Howell: This year the conference is going to be held at Norfolk State University and it's called "Race, Slavery and the Civil War"--the tough stuff of American history in memory, and is looking at different things from slavery and freedom and the Union navy and the image of the Emancipation Proclamation, the quest for Black rights in the midst of war.
Once again, Howell said, the Signature Conference will gather noted scholars to make presentations and answer questions.
Howell: Heading it up is a fellow named Dr. James Horton. He's brought an outstanding host of additional scholars that will talk; James McPherson, I think probably a lot of people know is a very successful author.
The Princeton historian will be joined by Yale’s David Blight; Spencer Crew from George Mason University; Bruce Levine from the University of Illinois; Edna Medford of Howard; Ira Berlin of Maryland; New Mexico State University’s Dwight Pitchaithley; Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Harriett Jacobs of Pace University; and Norfolk State’s Cassandra Newby- Alexander.
Howell: Seating is somewhat limited. We've probably already sold about 600 tickets, all on line.
The website address is:
Howell: Virginiacivilwar.org and it's a great website; it tells you about, not only this coming attraction, but what other events are going to be held around the Commonwealth. We're trying to cover all aspects--what it was like on the home front, what it was like for slaves, what it was like on the battle front, what is was like politically and it's really going to be a great educational opportunity, as well as a great tourism opportunity.
The Sesquicentennial Civil War Commission is also hitting the road.
Howell: The History Mobile is going to be a tractor trailer that's going to have a special exhibit in it that we're going to take around, hopefully, to most every locality in Virginia and it will offer people a brief glimpse of what they can see in other places. And then, sort of concurrent with that, we have a really great traveling exhibit that the Virginia Historical Society is putting together for us and it's going to be in Richmond for six months. Then it moves to, I believe, six other spots around the state.
And Speaker Howell concluded:
Howell: We have a series of many grants that we are awarding to different local governments to help them and encourage them to come up with their own particular part of the commemoration.