Civil War Anniversary: Celebration of Confederacy or Segregation Reminder?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Winslow Homer, Civil War Winslow Homer’s The War for the Union, 1862 - A Bayonet Charge (Rama/Wikimedia Commons)

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. For whites in the south, the anniversary marks the start of a proud military engagement. For blacks in the south, the war led to the end of slavery and the start of the civil rights movement. And while celebrations for the event will be grand in scale and scope, this year's commemoration will not reverberate nationally as it did during the centennial. How do the two anniversaries compare? 

There was a national commission set up for the anniversary, and the Kennedy administration was actively involved in the planning. By contrast, we talk about the significance the sesquicentennial with William Boone, professor of political science at Clark Atlanta University, and Jamie Malanowski, the lead writer for the Disunion blog for our partner The New York Times.


William Boone and Jamie Malanowski

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [4]

Angel from Miami, FL

Political parties? It was about the enslavement of humans for monetary gain (and other sadistic tendencies). What we understand about party platforms today didn't apply 150 years ago. After all, Lincoln was a Republican. A Republican helping people who couldn't vote for him - that should give you an idea of what this period was like.

Apr. 13 2011 09:49 AM

Rather than race and region, was it not the politics of the day that engineered the conflict? What was the position and attitudes of the Democrat and Republican Party before, during and after the war?

Apr. 12 2011 11:11 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

So true. The Civil War was about states' rights... to make laws concerning the commerce of slavery. It was also about tariffs... in the business of buying and selling slaves. I support all of our founding fathers' reasons for strong state governments as long as this strength isn't used to enslave humans.

Apr. 12 2011 10:13 AM
Julie B from Nashville, TN

I am a proud Southerner, thankful to be an American and not a Confederate. I'm thankful that slavery is illegal and our society is integrated. Slavery was certainly a cause of the Civil War. However, we can not forget the role of states' rights. John Adams and other founding fathers argued the merits of strong state governments versus a strong federal government. Texas governer Rick Warren talked about seceding in 2009. The issue of states rights has been with us since our nation began, and it is still with us.

Apr. 12 2011 08:14 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.