Webcast of Civil War Symposium Available at VMI Library
LEXINGTON, Va., April 20, 2009 – VMI is making available a live webcast of the first annual historical symposium sponsored by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission on Wednesday, April 29, in the Turman Room of Preston Library. The morning sessions of the broadcast run from 8:45 a.m. to noon, with the afternoon sessions beginning at 1:30 p.m. and lasting until 5 p.m. Attendees can come and go at will, as their schedules allow.
This symposium, titled “America on the Eve of the Civil War,” is convening at the University of Richmond. Yearly programs will be held at various colleges and universities around the state, until the 150th anniversary observance concludes in 2015. The 2012 gathering is scheduled to be at VMI. Nearly 2,000 people from over 20 states have already pre-registered to attend the Richmond conference.
This year’s program will focus on 1859. Sixteen prominent scholars who concentrate on the antebellum period and the Civil War will participate in four panel discussions moderated by Edward Ayers, president of the University of Richmond and himself a noted historian of the Civil War and the American South. The format will be like “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation,” and the speakers will be limited to what they would have known in 1859.
The opening session from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., “Taking Stock of the Nation in 1859,” will feature Gary Gallagher, who teaches Civil War history at the University of Virginia, Harvard’s Walter Johnson, and Joan Waugh from UCLA. The second panel, “The Future of Virginia and the South,” (10:15 a.m. -11:15 a.m.) will include Charles B. Dew from Williams College and Robert Kenzer from the University of Richmond. The first afternoon program, “Making Sense of John Brown’s Raid” (1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.) features Yale University’s David W. Blight. The panel for the last program, “Predictions for the Election of 1860” (2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.) includes Daniel W. Crofts of the College of New Jersey, Temple University’s Elizabeth Varon, and Goucher College’s Jean H. Baker, author of a biography of James Buchanan. Question and answer sessions will follow both the morning and afternoon sessions.
The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission was created by the General Assembly to co-ordinate events throughout the Commonwealth during the Civil War anniversary period. According to William J. Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates and Chair of the Commission, the Richmond symposium is the first sesquicentennial event in the nation.
The live transmission of this program at Preston Library is sponsored by the VMI Department of History and VMI’s Virginia History Society. Light refreshments will be provided. The public is invited to attend and, while advance registration is not required, anyone can pre-register by calling 464-7338.