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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Civil War history symposium for teachers coming to Wilmington

(Port City Daily photo / BEN SCHACHTMAN)
A photo of the monument to attorney and Confederate politician George Davis that used to stand in downtown Wilmington before its removal in 2020. (Port City Daily photo/ Ben Schachtman)

WILMINGTON — The North Carolina History Center on the Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction out of Fayetteville is holding a two-day symposium on April 17 and 18 for teachers in 11 school districts.

The purpose of the symposium is to teach about the history of the Civil War, its central point being that the Civil War was fought in an attempt to preserve slavery. The center views this fact as setting the record straight so today’s school children learn “the truth about the Civil War.”

Study of the Civil War is mandatory in the 4th and 5th grades and included in U.S. history courses in the 11th grade.

“Our efforts are based on one central point: We must come to a clear understanding of where we have been, so that we can know where we are going,” the center wrote in a press release. “We must tell the truth, so that subsequent generations will not believe a lie. We must do this, to help build a more perfect Union, for all North Carolinians.

The event will also center on how the Civil War affected the home front in the eastern part of the state.

The instruction will come from local historians, including Leslie Randle-Morton, associate director of the Bellamy Mansion Museum; Tara White, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at UNC-Wilmington; Jennifer Finlay, local history librarian for the New Hanover County Public Library; Judkin Browning, Ph.D; professor of history at Appalachian State University; and Angie Zombeck, Ph.D., associate professor of history at UNC-Wilmington.

The North Carolina History Center on the Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction itself is under development in Fayetteville, at the Fayetteville Arsenal, a state historic site where U.S. General William Tecumseh Sherman destroyed the Confederate Army’s ability to make weapons. Once the center is complete, which is expected in 2027, it will be turned over to the state and will be housed within the museums division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Until then, the Center is planning to hold a total of 12 symposiums for school teachers across the state. 

In addition to building a facility, which will provide opportunities for visitors to learn about the Civil War in North Carolina, the center is working to gather both university-level scholarship and family stories from all 100 counties, and put all of it online for use by schoolteachers.

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