Distinguished speakers part of Medina event
Organizers of the fourth and final Civil War encampment, put on by Genesee Community College to mark the 150th anniversary of the war that defined this nation, said it promises to be one of the most interesting to date. The event is set for April 24-26 at GCC's Medina Campus Center, 11470 Maple Ridge Road.
The weekend will include an "Education Day" Friday for local school districts; educational activities throughout the weekend (including a nationally recognized Frederick Douglass impressionist); re-enactments of skirmishes, artillery and cavalry; a surrender ceremony at noon Saturday in downtown Medina; and a panel discussion featuring distinguished guests from the popular online journal The Emerging Civil War.
Chris Mackowski and Kristopher White founded the Emerging Civil War with a goal of providing fresh perspectives and original scholarship related to the American Civil War (1861-65). GCC assistant history professor Derek Maxfield is a contributor to ECW. He will moderate a panel discussion at the encampment featuring Mackowski, a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, and historian White, who teaches at the Community College of Allegheny County near Pittsburgh and previously served as staff military historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia.
The discussion, "So What Have We Learned? The Sesquicentennial, The Civil War and American Memory" is set for 10 a.m. Saturday in the main tent at the encampment.
"The Civil War's sesquicentennial has been a great opportunity to introduce people to America's 'great story,' " Mackowski said. "Even though the anniversary is wrapping up now, it's the perfect time for people to ask 'What did the Civil War mean? Why is it still relevant today, to me?' "
"We love getting out on the front lines and talking with people about the war, because it's the best way to help nurture the public's interest and help people understand it better," White said.
"I am so pleased that historians from the Emerging Civil War will be joining us for our last Civil War encampment," Maxfield said. "I have been very impressed by the caliber of work on ECW and was honored to be invited to join their ranks. To borrow a phrase, I think having a panel of ECW experts part of the encampment schedule 'kicks things up a notch.' "
Besides the Encampment, GCC's Civil War Initiative will be part of the upcoming Commemorative Civil War Ball planned for March 21 at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia. GCC is a co-sponsor of this event, put on by the Daughters of the American Civil War - a Batavia group dedicated to honoring women of the Civil War era. The ball, set for 7-10 p.m., will feature Civil War music provided by City Fiddle with a dance master to call the dances. Dance instruction will be offered free of charge to ball attendees from 1-3 p.m. that afternoon in the Clarion ballroom.
Pre-sale tickets for the ball are $25 and are available online at www.showtix4u.com. Tickets at the door are $30. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Genesee Veterans Support Group and the Genesee County Historians Association.
In addition, the popular CWI lecture series continues this spring with the following events, which are free and open to the public. Each begins at 7 p.m.:
•Wednesday, March 25, at the Albion Campus Center - Sarah Handley-Cousins, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Buffalo, will speak about Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
•Wednesday, March 25, at the Dansville Campus Center - GCC adjunct history instructor Dan Hamner will speak about "The Civil War in Indian Country." Connections between the Civil War and Native American culture, politics, and diplomacy are often overlooked. Hamner will examine them through the eyes of three key Native American figures from the period.
•Wednesday, April 1, Room T102, Batavia campus - A panel of GCC historians, moderated by Maxfield, will address "Reconsidering the Civil War: GCC Historians Consider Historiography and American Memory." The discussion will feature professors Garth Swanson, Charles Scruggs, Timothy Palmer, Peter Francione and Hamner, as well as Orleans County Campus Centers Associate Dean Jim Simon.
•Wednesday, April 8, at the Medina Campus Center - A special panel discussion moderated by Maxfield, "Reconsidering the Civil War and American Memory," will feature Simon, Hamner, GCC adjunct instructor and former Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin.
•Wednesday, April 15, at the Dansville Campus Center - Author, historian and re-enactor Robert Yott presents "Lincoln's Other War." In order to preserve the Union, President Abraham Lincoln had to court the Border States, manage inept or politically ambitious generals, and hold the radical faction of his party at bay. Yott will speak about the "fire in the rear" that required Lincoln's constant attention and constituted his "other war."
For more information, contact at 585-343-0055, ext. 6288, or [email protected].