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Discovering Our History

February 23, 2011

Symposium featuring Dr. David Blight, Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, Jim Denny and Arnold Schofield.
North Independence Branch Saturday, March 26, 2011 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Free and open to the public, reservations recommended

Events across the country from 2011 to 2015 will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. In partnership with the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site and Civil War Roundtable of Kansas City, Mid-Continent Public Library System will kick-off Civil War Sesquicentennial observances with a symposium held at the North Independence Branch. Four scholars will present insights into the bitter conflict that produced "a new birth of freedom" in the country when the chains of bondage were released from four million enslaved men, women, and children. Dr. David Blight, Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, Jim Denny, and Arnold Schofield will each speak about a different aspect of the war. Collectively, the four speakers will present a national picture of the war as a turning point in history, examine the war's many relevant legacies, and shed light on the regional war that raged along the Missouri and Kansas border in the 1850s and 1860s.

Audience members can listen to presentations, ask questions, and interact with Civil War scholars and enthusiasts, as well as purchase books and have them signed by the visiting authors. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Has Civil War Memory Divided or United Americans Over 150 Years?
The causes, impacts, and legacies of the Civil War have long been debated. Dr. David Blight will examine these topics during his presentation. Dr. Blight, a professor of history at Yale University, is the author and editor of several books including Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001), Beyond the Battlefield: Race, memory, and the American Civil War (2002), and Frederick Douglass' Civil War: keeping Faith in Jubilee
(1989).

Disunion Denied: Missouri's Secession Convention and the Great Slavery Question
As a former chief historian of the National Park Service, Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley provides a valuable perspective on the ways the Civil War is interpreted at historic sites. He is also an expert on the secession conventions in the South and has written a book on the topic that will soon be published.

Bleeding Missouri
The civil War era in Missouri and Kansas featured some of the most violent and tragic episodes of the war. Raids back and forth across the border destroyed communities, torched farms, and uprooted thousands of people. Bitterness lingered for decades after the war. Jim Denny will provide a historical perspective from the Missourians' point of view.

Origins, Animosities, and Legacies of the Kansas/Missouri Border Wars: 1856-1865 and Beyond
An authority on the Civil War in Missouri and Kansas, Arnold Schofield served for many years as the park historian at  Fort Scott National Historic Site. After retiring from the National Park Service he began working for the Kansas State Historical Society.

To RSVP by March 25, call the North Independence Branch at (816) 252-0950 or by registering online.

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