HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Charles W. & Joan S. Coker Library will host Civil War 150, a national traveling exhibition, on display from March 31 to April 21. The Civil War is one of the most transformative periods in U.S. history. After long-simmering sectional tensions led to seven slaveholding states seceding, the ensuring political strife gave way to war in April 1861. Four years of fighting resulted in 1.5 million casualties making the Civil War the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history. One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War, the voices of soldiers and their families still ring true.
The Charles W. & Joan S. Coker Library is one of fifty sites nationwide selected to host the Civil War 150 exhibition. “We are pleased and very excited to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Alexa Bartel, director of the library. “Through reproductions of documents, photographs, and posters, the exhibition invites visitors to learn about events that took place during the war through the eyes of individuals. Though the Civil War took place one hundred and fifty years ago, people today can still identify with the thoughts and fears of ordinary citizens and soldiers, many of which reflect a humanity that is forever consistent. We hope that this will help our students and visitors better understand the human and political costs of war.”
The Gilder Lehrman Institute developed the exhibition to mark the Civil War Sesquicentennial. The Civil War 150 is divided into five panels: The Nation Divides, 1861; The Union is Dissolved; This Cruel War; Turning Points; and The Price of Victory (1864-1865). Drawing from the Gilder Lehrman Collection, each section traces major events during the Civil War.
The exhibit allows visitors to experience the battle through the eyes of major political figures, soldiers, families, and freedmen. Letters, personal accounts and images tell the stories of how people grappled with the end of slavery, the nature of democracy and citizenship, the human toll of civil war and the role of a president in wartime.
The Coker Library, along with Hartsville Memorial Library, is sponsoring free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition. Contact the Coker Library at 843-383-8125, email Alexa Bartel ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit coker.edu for more information.
Developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with The Library of America, this exhibition was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibition is part ofCivil War 150: Exploring the War and Its Meaning through the Words of Those Who Lived It, a major three-year project funded by the National Endowment for Humanities. The project is centered on the four-volume Library of America series, Civil War 150: Exploring the War and Its Meaning through the Words of Those Who Lived It.