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Feb
22

“Thank God for Michigan”-Abraham Lincoln

Michigan is about to embark on a four year commemoration of the Civil War which will recognize the tremendous contribution the state’s men and women provided in preserving the Union and ending slavery. You can follow the commemorative events and exhibits here.According to Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan Historical Center, the events begin on April 12, 2011, when the first of two planned exhibits on Michigan and the Civil War.  “Plowshares into Swords” begins with Michigan on the eve of war—an agrarian state just beginning to develop its mining and lumbering resources, but a state already steeped in the national debate over slavery.  It traces the personal and community transitions that war brought and then uses our amazing Civil War flag collection to focus on a state and its citizens settling into war. The exhibit will run to February 5, 2012.

On April 16 almost exactly 150 years after hostilies broke out a reenactment will take place just just west of the Library and Historical Museum. The four year commemoration will end with an exhibit on the war’s end and aftermath.

On the state’s official Civil War website there is a calendar of events, flicker, facebook, blogs, and the ability to search all of the Civil War documents held in the Archives of Michigan.  For example, type in Lansing in the search box and you’ll find photographs of Lansing area residents who served in the war.  Select Civil War manuscripts as the collection to search and you’ll find the Lansing collections.  It’s a tremendous resource for citizens especially school-age children.

You can also expect a number of new books on Michigan and the Civil War. One of the first books “Michigan and the Civil War” is by Jack Dempsey of Ann Arbor Michigan and it provides an overview of Michigan’s role in the war. Dempsey’s book underlines the importance of the state’s role in the war without which it may have been lost. He starts with the dramatic shelling at Sumter where a Michigan man risks his life to raise the fallen flag. Read a review of the book at Dome Magazine.

 Dempsey will be on a panel discussion with two other Michigan Civil War writers at the Kerrytown BookFest Sunday September 11 in Ann Arbor Michigan.

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