Friday, November 11, 2011

Ingram Library to hold Civil War Reading, Discussion Series

The University of West Georgia’s Ingram Library received a grant from the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to host “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War,” a five-part reading and discussion series that will begin on Sunday, Jan. 15, with subsequent discussions on alternate Sunday afternoons through March 11. Registered participants will receive copies of the books and a list of readings assigned for discussion at each session. Registration is open to the public. Online registration is available at or by calling 678-839-6350.

Ingram Library is one of 65 libraries nationwide, and one of four in Georgia, receiving grants to host the series, which will encourage participants to consider the legacy of the Civil War and emancipation. Local support for the series is provided by Ingram Library’s Penelope Melson Society, the library’s friends organization that was founded in 2008 in honor of the library’s centennial. In conjunction with the discussion series, the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity will host a February exhibit from the APEX Museum in Atlanta in celebration of Black History Month. The library will also be the site of an exhibit of Civil War artifacts from the collections of the university’s Antonio J. Waring, Jr. Archaeological Laboratory.

“The Civil War takes us back to a time in American history when civility ruptured and the nation split in two,” said Jim Leach, chairman of NEH. “The sesquicentennial of the Civil War and emancipation is an occasion for America to reflect together about the causes and ramifications of our greatest internal conflict, and a most appropriate way for ‘us the living’ to renew the American spirit in these still-troubled times.”

In addition to program funding, the library received copies of the following works:

· “March” by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, 2006)

· “Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam” by James McPherson (Oxford University Press, 2002)

· “America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries,” a forthcoming anthology of historical fiction, speeches, diaries, memoirs, biography, and short stories, edited by national project scholar Edward L. Ayers and co-published by NEH and ALA.

Dr. Keith Bohannon of the University of West Georgia’s Department of History will lead a discussion of the book at each session. Bohannon has authored and edited books, essays and articles on the American Civil War. His research has focused on specific battles and military units and leaders, as well as on Unionist sentiments in the South. Bohannon provided research support for exhibits and interpretive planning at Civil War battlefields, including Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Kennesaw Mountain, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania; and conducted tours of battlefield sites.

The Melson Society, Ingram Library’s friends organization, invites the public to a reception and performance by the Cowtown String Band on Friday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. on the newly renovated main floor of Ingram Library at UWG. Cowtown String Band will explore the influence of the Civil War on America’s musical heritage as a prelude to a series of events the library will host to recognize the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and emancipation.

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