Commemorating the Civil War

Since April 2011 there have been many events held around the country commemorating the 150th anniversary of  the Civil War.   WOSU has aired a few really good documentaries here and there on the subject.  In my humble opinion the greatest documentary series ever done on the Civil War was the Ken Burns’ series.   The networks have virtually ignored the subject, so for all you history students out there good thing we still have PBS!

This Sunday WOSU will again devote an afternoon of programming to the Civil War.  It’s not the same old fare you’re use to seeing. We are showcasing four very good documentaries profiling stories and subjects you don’t really hear much about.

We start  at 3pm with  “Bad Blood: The Border War That Triggered The Civil War”.  This is the story of the border skirmishes between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions on either side of the Missouri and Kansas border between 1854 and 1860.   You often hear about South Carolina and state’s rights but in the years leading up to the Civil War, a bloody conflict between Missourian slave-holders and Kansan abolitionists put the divisive  issue of slavery right in front of the entire nation.

“Jewish Soldiers in Blue & Gray” explores the little-known sacrifices American Jews made for both the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War. Recently unearthed personal narratives shed new light on this fascinating chapter in American history and powerfully illustrate the unique role Jews played on the battlefields and the home front.

Beginning at 5:30pm “Shiloh: Fiery Trial”  chronicles the battle of Shiloh.   Fought in south central Tennessee in April 1862, it was the first large  battle of the war. The Union victory produced the kind of casualties the United States had never experienced, and was a harbinger of the carnage and horror that was to come. The staggering casualties of more than 23-thousand Union and Confederate soldiers sent shockwaves into every home in America.  After Shiloh, it was written, “the South never smiled.”

Finally to end the afternoon we’ll air “Jefferson Davis: An American President”.   A statesmen of the United States during the first 60 years of the 19th century, he sacrificed everything to defend the South’s position related to the rights of the states and conservative constitutional interpretation.  A West Point graduate, a hero of the Mexican War, a United States Senator, and Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce are some of his many early accomplishments.  I was surprised to learn he is responsible for the way the National Capitol looks today and is largely responsible for the Smithsonian Institution.   The years after the Civil War were not so glorious.

I hope you can spend some time with us on Sunday looking back at this important part of our country’s history. Tune in Sunday, April 15 beginning at 3pm on WOSU TV.