WCSU panel, exhibition to mark 150th anniversary of Civil War’s start
Historians to offer insights on Civil War legacy at April 12 forum

DANBURY, CONN. — Four Western Connecticut State University historians will share their perspectives at a public forum and the Ruth A. Haas Library will display University Archive materials from the period in the WCSU commemoration during April of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War.

Faculty members of the WCSU department of history and non-Western cultures will present a panel discussion on “The Legacy of Our Civil War: 150 Years After Fort Sumter” at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12, in the atrium of the Haas Library on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Participants will include Dr. Kevin Gutzman, Dr. Leslie Lindenauer, Dr. Marcy May and Dr. Burton Peretti. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend.

An exhibition of letters, photographs, newspapers and period literature from the Civil War and its immediate aftermath will be shown from April 1 through 30 in the main lobby of the Haas Library. Featured historical items have been selected from holdings of the University Archives and Special Collections, cosponsor with the department of history and non-Western cultures for the commemorative programs during April. Admission will be free and the exhibit is open for public viewing during library hours.

“The purpose of the panel and exhibit is to mark this important anniversary — the beginning of the Civil War,” WCSU Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Brian Stevens observed. “For students, it will serve to bring that historical event into view.

“This anniversary is particularly resonant today as we watch civil wars and revolutions erupting in the Middle East,” Stevens added. “These programs provide an opportunity to look at an historical event not as static, but rather as evolving in our collective consciousness, where meanings and perceived ‘truths’ can shift depending on the background and the period in time of the person looking at the event.”

The April 12 panel discussion will cover a wide range of themes related to the Civil War legacy from the Union and Confederate states’ perspectives. Peretti will address the national impact of the war while Gutzman will focus on the war’s effect on the South, surveying its constitutional, political, economic, social and religious impacts.

May’s comments will offer perspectives on the war’s impact on the people of the South and North, with special emphasis on how the war affected community life in the Greater Danbury area. Lindenauer will describe and compare how the Civil War is memorialized today, both within Connecticut and across the United States.

Stevens noted the monthlong Civil War exhibition at Haas Library provides an opportunity to demonstrate the wealth of primary source materials preserved in the university’s library collections.

For more information, contact Stevens at stevensb@wcsu.edu or (203) 837-8992.

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.



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