As we prepare to greet the year 2015, Civil War buffs like me are reminded that the coming year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. That in itself calls for some sort of special recognition, but the city of Charleston, South Carolina, is making special plans to celebrate the end of the war there in the city where that war started. Here are a few of the events they have planned.
If you're in town tomorrow,Thursday, January 1st, 2015, please consider coming out and joining in or watching the Emancipation Day Parade--starting at 11 am outside Burke High School and working its way down King and Calhoun Streets to end at Emanuel AME Church (see http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20141231/PC16/141239933 ). This year's commemoration is especially significant in that exactly 150 years ago in 1865 the provisions of the proclamation that anyone formerly enslaved would be henceforward "forever free" came into force across the reunited nation on the cessation of the Civil War.
In regard to the latter point, please also keep a look out for a series of events coordinated by the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) program in conjunction with colleagues at the Citadel, the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust, and the National Park Service. Governing all these events will be the spirit invoked by President Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address of "malice toward none, charity for all."
On February 18th we will be commemorating the surrender of Charleston with a panel discussion involving the College of Charleston historians and former Avery Research Center director Marvin Dulaney.
On February 20th, Dr Joe Kelly will lead a seminar-style discussion based on the work in his book America's Longest Siege.
On March 11th, two noted Lincoln scholars, Dr Richard Carwardine (President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford) and Dr. Vernon Burton (Clemson University), will give a special Bully Pulpit presentation on Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.
On April 14th, the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust in conjunction with the National Park Service will be running special boat-trips to Fort Sumter for ceremonial re-raising of the Union flag.
On April 18th, the Dock Street Theater will see two panel discussions on the end of the war and its legacy featuring some of the nation's most prominent Civil War historians, including David Blight, Eric Foner, Annette Gordon Reed, Tom Brown, Emory Thomas, Ethan Kytle and Blain Roberts (this event supported by a major grant from the Humanities Council SC).
On April 19th at 1pm on Hampton Park, there will be a memorial service honoring all of the dead of the Civil War, led by Citadel chaplain Rev. Joel Harris and Rev. Joseph Darby.
On April 19th at 7pm, there will be a reenactment of a feast of reconciliation organized in 1865 by Nat Fuller, Charleston's most prominent African-American caterer (some of you may have seen the Post and Courier piece on this just before Christmas: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20141223/PC1206/141229762).
As other events appear on the calendar, i will try to keep you posted. In the meantime, I'm holding my own small celebration of the end of the war by working on a new novel that will explore the years immediately after the war. More details on that to come in the new year.