Civil War, 150 Years Later, Still Divides Our Nation





When National Park Service rangers fired a New Year's cannon shot at this Civil War battleground to hail the arrival of 2011, they also ushered in the start of a four-year commemoration of the war's 150th anniversary.

The events include a multitude of battle re-enactments, lecture series, readings, concerts and plays that will be held on the battle fields tended to by the Park Service and in private estates from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico to New York.

But the slate of commemorations is also fraught with political peril. Deep divisions over why the war was fought persist, especially in the South. The debate still roils over slavery's role as the principle cause of the war. The first commemoration, a private "secession gala" organized by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Charleston on Dec. 20, did not signal an auspicious start to the upcoming calendar of events.

The date marked the 150th anniversary of the day South Carolina became the first of 11 states to secede. Inside the ballroom, elected officials and others in period costume celebrated the courage of their fore-bearers to stand up for their state's right to leave the Union. Outside, on the sidewalk, the NAACP led 100 demonstrators who viewed the event as a celebration of a treasonous act against the federal government in order to protect the institution of slavery

Mark Simpson, the commander of South Carolina's division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, defended the gala, saying it was not about denying slavery as "an issue" in the war, but honoring South Carolina's rights....



comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list