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▣ General lack of interest in the Civil War Sesquicentennial

posted by Joseph Certaine on March 15th, 2013 at 2:20 PM

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Most of us, who are uniformed military reenactors, have invested hundreds possibly even thousands of dollars in presenting an historically accurate, period authentic character in our particular branch of the Union or Confederate Army. Whether it be Infantry, Artillery or Cavalry, we understand the importance of presenting a fully defined soldier for that period of US history.

The Civil War sesquicentennial observance however, has not lived up to it's billing of a few short years ago.  Outside of the obvious large presentations (like Gettysburg 2013), there doesn't seem to be much interest in the Civil War these days.

Some say that it's because of the current political climate and the vestiges of the war, now manifested in the current struggle between the Obama administration and the Tea Party members of the Republican Party.  Others say that the economic crisis that is just now easing a bit, is the real culprit. the fiscal impact upon the middle class has left many of us without the financial means to fully participate in Civil War sesquicentennial activities.  Nor can we effectively market and publicize ongoig susquicentennial activities.

Whatever the reason, the 150th Anniversay observance of the American Civil War has been a real disappointment to those of us who envisioned a big coming out party for the United States Colored Troops. 2013 was meant to be a watershed year marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the authorization of the formation of the Bureau for Colored Troops. Instead, we have been met with disinterest and difficulty securing venues for presentations that many say "rip the scab off old wounds".

We will soon be well into the season for reenactments but in the African-American community there seems to be a sense of "let sleeping dogs ly".   More recently there has been more of a demand for Indian Wars presentations of Buffalo Soldiers than there have been for Civil War interpretations. Maybe it's because many of us feel that the attempts to stifle voting rights along with other problems, is enough of a constant reminder of what still remains to be accomplished.  

The social and political environment in the black community is so tense, that reminders of the elusive Jubilee are just too much for us to bare.   At any rate, we must continue to remind ourselves and each other of the continuing price we all pay for freedom, justice and equality. The presentation of the United States Colored Troops  is an historical example of what we can and must do to preserve the Jubilee.

last edited on May 20th, 2013 at 1:08 PM

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