Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event Met With Great Success

More than 1,000 people attended the 2015 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event April 30-May 1 at various historic sites and downtown Knoxville.

Attendees from 27 states like Colorado, New Jersey, and Texas and 40 Tennessee cities received a national, regional, and local perspective on how people reconciled and remembered the Civil War.

“The Civil War’s effects play a pivotal role in Tennessee’s history,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Tennessee continues to welcome its residents and visitors alike to explore the past even after the Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event to better understand the people and places of 150 years ago.”

Activities kicked off with the keynote speaker, Dr. Caroline E. Janney, and her speech “Remembering The Civil War” followed by a beautiful musical performance from world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers April 30 at the Bijou Theatre.

Many Tennessee families had photographs and artifacts digitally copied during the two-day event, courtesy of The Tennessee State Library and Archives. The recorded information will be part of a permanent, public archive online at www.tn.gov/tsla/cwtn.

Approx. 1,100 students from 12 Tennessee schools attended the Civil War Student Tours & Living History Picnic at various historic sites like Mabry Hazen Historic House Museum, Blount Mansion, Fort Dickerson, Ramsey House, High Ground Park, McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, and the East Tennessee Historical Society. The event culminated as lunch was served with living historians including soldiers, 19th-century baseball players, notable historical characters and more at the World’s Fair Park.

Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, gave opening remarks to the Official Sesquicentennial Commemoration May 1 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Representative Joe Armstrong, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, and Dr. Carroll Van West, Tennessee State Historian, also gave special remarks. Beaumont Magnet Academy (K-3) gave a special choral performance.

Nationally-acclaimed historians, authors, and speakers presented a symposium on “Reconstruction Tennessee” May 1 which included Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia

Historical Society; Luke Harlow, history professor at The University of Tennessee Knoxville; Bobby L. Lovett, professor emeritus of the Tennessee State University; and Tracy

McKenzie, history professor and department chair at Wheaton College.

The weekend was filled with activities through May 3 as the Blue & Gray Reunion & Freedom Jubilee took place. Tours of Civil War homes, forts, and cemeteries, fireworks, period church services, a “Peace Jubilee” and much more took place.