Civil War topic of ACHS meeting

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July 23, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Jeff Kluever will shed light on the emancipation of 4 million slaves and the cost incurred by both the North and South following the Civil War at Tuesday’s Allen County Historical Society’s summer meeting. The program begins at 7 p.m. in the Frederick Funston Meeting Hall at 207 N. Jefferson.
As the Allen County Historical Society continues its remembrance of the Civil War’s sesquicentennial, Kluever, executive director of the historical society, will present “The ‘Forgotten’ Civil War.”
Kluever said the Civil War resulted in approximately 620,000 deaths and more than 1 million casualties in its four-year duration.
Entire cities were burned to the ground, populations displaced and communities destroyed.
“I believe we often forget the tragic loss of lives and people who were sold as slaves. The Civil War wasn’t a glorious time as depicted in such movies as ‘Gone With the Wind’ or ‘Gettysburg,’” Kluever said.
Bands of bushwhackers and Jayhawkers burned and looted towns and homes indiscriminately in Kansas and Missouri without regard for cause or country.
And yet this history, he said, has been filtered and made into legend in both the North and South. 
Historians often focus on the “glorious” struggle and sacrifice and the ultimate reunion of the country. They conveniently leave out the stories of utter devastation and the costs of this reunion, both during and after the war, Kluever said.
“I want people to remember the cause of slavery and the most positive development resulting from the Civil War was the emancipation of the slaves,” Kluever said.
Somehow, he said, the importance of slavery in the story of the Civil War has been overshadowed by granite monuments, legendary battles and the desire to forget.
“I believe the Civil War was unquestionably the single most catastrophic event that changed our history and shaped our future,” Kluever said.
These forgotten experiences, including a generation of young men dead, will be discussed during Kluever’s presentation. Special Civil War artifacts from the collection at the Allen County Historical Museum will also be on display at the meeting which is free and open to the public.
For additional information about the meeting call 365-3051.

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