Civil War exhibits plan to spark civil debate

Civil War exhibits plan to spark civil debate

Sophomore Kendra Mitchell reads over the “Defining Liberty” exhibit displayed on the first floor of the Cook Library. Susan Broadbridge/Printz

Sophomore Kendra Mitchell reads over the “Defining Liberty” exhibit displayed on the first floor of the Cook Library.
Susan Broadbridge/Printz

Marking the 150 year anniversary of the Civil War era, University Libraries at The University of Southern Mississippi are currently hosting a series of exhibits to educate and encourage debate among the campus community.

Each exhibit provides a unique look into the War Between the States. They highlight slavery and abolition, trace war events through the eyes of soldiers, presidents, freedmen and families and deliberate on the rebellion.

“Viewers get to see documents from the time to get a first-hand perspective of the events of the war,” said Jennifer Brannock, rare book curator for the libraries.

With the Civil War being one of the many great debates in American politics, deliberation is expected. Brannock said debate is natural with any case.

“Discussions about topics help people really think about the issues, the resources and, in these incidents, how these events changed life and thought in America,” she said.

The aim of the exhibits is to provide detailed information about the Civil War and allow people to develop personal perspectives.

Stephanie Seal, a doctoral student in USM’s history department, created two of the exhibits with Brannock’s coordination as a part of her internship with the libraries.

“The target audience is everyone, but especially our students because they get to see both sides,” she said. “It’s the raw element of ‘this is what the nineteenth century is thinking.’”

According to Seal, a student who may not know much about the war can take away an understanding of how slavery affected everyone.

The Civil War exhibits are in conjunction with the Civil War 150 Lecture Series which began in September. The final lecture, “Soldiers singing and fiddling during the Civil War,” will take place on Oct. 1.

Civil War 150 National Traveling Exhibition schedule:

Cook Library Sept. 13-30, 2013.

Living Through the Rebellion: The Experience and History of the American Civil War

McCain Library & Archives Monday – Friday from 9:00-4:00 through Jan. 15, 2014

Defining Liberty:  The Slavery & Abolition Debate in Nineteenth Century American Print Culture

Cook Library – until Oct. 2.

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