“The sesquicentennial of the Civil War’s Battle of Atlanta will take place in 2014,” Camille Russell Love, director of the city of Atlanta mayor’s office of cultural affairs, which operates the attraction, said in a statement. “To commemorate this significant anniversary, the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum will host numerous activities on site and around the city all year long.”
The series will feature the work of world-renowned authors and artists like Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Radcliffe Bailey, Germaine Ingram, Charles McNair and Natasha Trethewey.
“From robust conversations about those who fought and those who stayed home, acknowledgement of the Jewish contribution, the journey to freedom, and the history of celebrations following the Emancipation Proclamation, we’ll present events for families, students, book clubs, teachers, historians and art lovers.” Love said.
Events take place at the Atlanta Cyclorama unless otherwise noted.
Here are some of the highlights of the 2014 program.
“February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four,” Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. – free film screening. “Partnering with Urban Film Review, we’ll present a free series of one-hour documentary screenings,” Love said. “After each film, historian and educator Nasir Muhammad will lead the audience in a facilitated dialogue.” The first installment is the story of four North Carolina college freshmen who ate lunch at Woolworth’s in 1960 and sparked a revolution.
That Which Survives: Love Lost and Found in the Shadow of War (1861-1865), March 13 at 7 p.m.– free lecture by author Dolen Perkins-Valdez. When the Civil War began, the country wasn’t the only thing being torn apart. Families and lifelong friends were ripped one from the other. After the war they began the long, difficult process of finding their loved ones. “Wench” author Perkins-Valdez’s new research focuses on people who survived the war and their efforts to reestablish their loves and lives.
“At the River I Stand,” April 3 at 7 p.m. – free film screening. “A riveting documentary set in Memphis, Tenn., during the 1960’s, ‘At The River I Stand’ is a narrative about mobilization, determination and tragedy during the civil rights movement,” Love said. “It’s about two eventful months in 1968 that culminate with the success of the unionization of sanitation workers and the tragic death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
“Pickett’s Charge: A Novel,” April 10 at 7 p.m. – free lecture by author Charles McNair. Believing himself to be the last surviving Civil War Confederate veteran, 114-year-old Threadgill Pickett is visited one day in 1964 by the ghost of his deceased brother, Ben. When Ben tells him that one Union soldier is still alive in Bangor, Maine, Threadgill leaves his nursing home in Mobile, Ala., to fight one last battle. “McNair’s compelling story of intrigue and Civil War high drama explores the meaning of valor and vengeance,” Love said. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
Jews in the Garment Industry, May 4 at 2 p.m. – paid exhibit and lecture at William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. “Since the early 19th century, Jews have played important roles in the dry goods and merchandising industries of this country,” Love said. “With the onset of the Civil War, the demand for uniforms helped Jewish merchants transform themselves into clothing manufacturers. In Atlanta, the end of the Civil War saw the advent of what would become an Atlanta institution for 138 years: Rich’s Department Store.” The event includes a tour of the exhibit, Return to Rich’s, and a lecture by professor Adam Mendelsohn. Tickets range from $4 to $12.
Juneteenth celebration at Cyclorama and Grant Park, June 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – free event. “When Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Texas on June 19, 1865, to deliver General Order No. 3 informing enslaved African Americans they were free, the news came two and a half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Upon hearing the news, African Americans started a tradition called Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.,” Love said. “Celebrations included rodeos, fishing and baseball, and typical foods enjoyed were barbeque and strawberry soda-pop. Events also focused on remembering the past, education and self-improvement.” She said the Cyclorama event is a day of fun, educational activities, poetry slams and theater. This event is being presented in partnership with the Atlanta History Center. Refreshments will be available for sale.
Art Against The Wall: The Battle of Atlanta at 150 – free art exhibits at two Atlanta galleries: 72 Marietta Gallery from July 11 to Oct. 5 and City Gallery at Chastain from Aug. 8 to Sept. 19. “The U.S. Civil War wrought unspeakable destruction and carnage. It ripped families apart, united a country and abolished slavery. Ultimately, it forever changed our nation and its people,” Love said. “Featuring the thought-provoking art of renowned artist Radcliffe Bailey as the nexus, these shows will bring together an assemblage of artists to present two powerful exhibits that will explore controversial themes related to the Civil War and its aftermath.”
“Black Dispatches: Freedom Under Foot” on July 22 at 7 p.m. – paid dance & music production. “From the beginning of the Civil War, African Americans knew it was a unique opportunity. With thousands of white men joining the Confederate army, farms and plantations were left largely unattended,” Love said. African Americans fled by the thousands to seek better conditions and freedom, she said. "Using the lives of enslaved, fugitive and free African American Union informants as a window into the Civil War era, contemporary jazz tap dancer and folklorist Germaine Ingram will present a powerful one-woman dance performance accompanied by live violin music,” Love said. Tickets range from $8 to $10.
“Native Guard:” a poetic reading by poet laureate Natasha Trethewey on Sept. 2 at 6:30 p.m. – paid event. “Creatively weaving the threads of her personal family story with those of the nation’s, Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey’s book of poetry is masterful,” Love said. “The poems intertwine memory and the immediacy of lived history. In each of the book’s three sections, Trethewey gives voice to a specific person or experience, and focuses on themes related to miscegenation, slavery and race, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. It is a poignant collection of work that poetry lovers and historians will want to own.” Copies of her book will be available for purchase. Tickets range from $8 to $10.
On the Web: www.atlantacyclorama.org