by Craig Layne
Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, will deliver a keynote address from the historic lectern that was on the speakers’ platform during Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 1863. Coleman’s talk, “Getting Right with Civil War Memory” will take place Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m., in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6 p.m. for those interested in viewing the lectern and select displays from the new Dickinson & Slavery exhibit, which provides an extended discussion on the impact of former slaves and their descendants on the college and Carlisle community.
Coleman leads the American Civil War Museum, located in Richmond and Appomattox, Virginia, where she has been instrumental in furthering discussion around the Civil War, its legacies and its relevance to our lives today. Coleman strives to make museum experiences meaningful for diverse communities. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including TIME, which named her one of “31 People Changing the South.” Forbes profiled her as “the woman CEO retelling the story of slavery and American history.”
Coleman will speak from the lectern present on the platform during the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg on Nov. 19, 1863, the same ceremony where President Lincoln delivered his legendary Gettysburg Address. The rarely seen lectern was last used for a public address by Pope Francis when he visited Philadelphia in 2015. It will be displayed alongside a chair that was also used during the same 1863 dedication ceremony, which was held some four months after the decisive Battle of Gettysburg. This is the first time these two items have been displayed together. Their installation is made possible by the J. Howard Wert Collection, one of the finest privately held collections of Civil War-era artifacts in the country. Other relics from the collection, including items from the Underground Railroad, will be on display during an open house on Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the House Divided Studio, 61 N. West St.
Coleman’s keynote address is the concluding event in a daylong workshop for K-12 educators designed to share information and new resources about the teaching of slavery and its legacy. Using the experiences of Dickinson and its ties to slavery as a starting point, presenters will demonstrate a variety of new multimedia tools and specially designed lesson plans that will cover a host of key topics connected to the rise and fall of slavery.
The Dickinson & Slavery exhibit is part of the House Divided Project, an effort to create a wide variety of resources to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Reconstruction. In addition to the special open house, the exhibit will also be open on most Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and by appointment.
Published March 21, 2019