Posts from the ‘Education’ Category

Too Many Civil War Books?

Written by John Hiett 

The flood of books a couple of years ago commemorating the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth got me wondering just how many Lincoln books our library could absorb.

When so many titles get published at once, don’t many get overlooked, or does an event create enough interest that the books find an audience? The same thing is happening now with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (1861-1865). Lots of books, many of them well reviewed, are being released and will be for the next few years. Where to start? A couple approaches might work.

American Brutus

First, there are some excellent overviews of the entire era. “The Civil War: A Concise History,” by Louis Masur, covers the tensions leading to war, Lincoln’s election, secession, the war itself and reconstruction in a mere 118 pages. In no time at all, you can get back to trying to keep up with James Patterson. Less concise, Steven Woodworth’s “This Great Struggle: America’s Civil War” is more thorough. The Smithsonian Institution is involved with “Civil War: A Visual History,” published by DK, meaning it will contain excellent graphics. Ken Burns (yes, we have his landmark video series) contributes a foreword to “Discovering the Civil War,” a collection of original documents and photographs from the National Archives.

Alternately, one could approach the Civil War chronologically, beginning with David Egerton’s “Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election That Brought on the Civil War.” From there, try “Dogs of War 1861,”by Emory Thomas, or “1861: the Civil War Awakening,” by Adam Goodheart, or “The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those who Lived It.”

Looking for revisionist history? David Goldfield’s “America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation,” attributes the war to religious fundamentalism and manifest destiny in the North. “God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War,” by George Rable, examines the role of religion on both sides.

One also could approach the war through different lenses. “The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War,” by Donald Stoker, would be for military buffs looking for a macro view. “Lincoln on War”collects the writings of the great man himself, revealing the lengths he was prepared to go to preserve the union.

Finally, John Lockwood asks why the Confederacy didn’t simply invade Washington, D.C., a mostly undefended southern city at the beginning of the war in “The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union.”

If the Civil War is a topic that interests you, there will be plenty to choose from this year. These and other books on the Civil War can be found on the second floor of the Iowa City Public Library.

John Hiett is a senior librarian at the Iowa City Public Library.

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Norfolk 4th-grade teacher who held mock slave auction placed on administrative leave

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A fourth-grade teacher in Norfolk who staged a mock auction of black and mixed-race students as part of a Civil War history lesson is on administrative leave.

Norfolk Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Michael Spencer tells The Virginian-Pilot an investigation of Sewells Point Elementary teacher Jessica Boyle will be completed no later than next week.

Spencer says a recommendation on any personnel action could go before the school board as early as May 18.

Division spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather has said the teacher separated black and mixed-race students from their white classmates and auctioned them.

Principal Mary B. Wrushen apologized to parents in a letter earlier this month. She said the activity wasn’t supported by the school or division.

Day camp brings Civil War to life for area youngsters

From weaponry to quilt squares, area youths learn about life in the Civil War at Spotsylvania day camp.
BY AMY FLOWERS UMBLE, Fredericksburg.com

The new recruits lined up, and one by one each private marched up for a rifle.

Decked in Confederate gray caps, hooded sweatshirts and sneakers, the soldiers seemed unsure of how to hold their weapons fashioned out of wood.

The last private eagerly took hold of the rifle, although it towered over his head.

Josh Fissel, a first-grader at Smith Station Elementary, was one of 24 children who learned about the War Between the States yesterday at Spotsylvania County‘s first Civil War Kids Camp.

The one-day event happened on the final day of Spotsylvania schools’ spring break, and took place on the edge of the Chancellorsville battlefield at the county’s Lick Run Community Center.

Costumed re-enactors led the students through stations focusing on various aspects of life during the war: marching, loading a weapon, setting up camp, sewing, taking care of the sick, spying, helping to free slaves and playing marbles.

“One of our goals is to try to get a broader understanding and renewed interest in the history of our area,” said Eric Powell, a re-enactor with the 47th Virginia, Company I and the coordinator of social studies for Stafford County public schools.

Most area schools spend a few weeks each year teaching the Civil War, he said. But yesterday, Powell helped students do more than memorize some key dates and read history books.

“They’re learning without even knowing it,” said Debbie Aylor, visitor center supervisor for Spotsylvania.

She planned the camp as a kickoff to the county’s sesquicentennial commemorations.

Spotsylvania was the site of four major Civil War battles, and the county plans to mark the 150th anniversary of the war with numerous events.

Aylor has been passionate about Spotsylvania’s history since growing up “in the middle of a battlefield.”

As a child, Aylor rode her bike over the historic ground and would relive Stonewall Jackson’s famed flank attack in the very woods where it occurred in May 1863.

Her grandmother, a schoolteacher, would say, “You need to know your history, know where you came from.”

And that motto framed the camp.

The youths came to the camp with varying knowledge about the Civil War. Some were eager to attend; others had to be prodded.

James Adams, a second-grader at Smith Station, said, “My mom forced me to come.”

But 9-year-old Will Hight asked to go. “Me and my brother are kind of Civil War fanatics.”

The Hight brothers weren’t the only young Civil War buffs. Michael Gilchrist, a seventh-grader at Thornburg Middle School, came in his own period garb. He and his family participate in re-enactments, and Michael came to camp with a lot of Civil War knowledge.

“But some things I was surprised to hear,” he said.

He was especially intrigued to learn that abolitionists used quilt patterns as signals for the Underground Railroad.

While some campers shrugged and said they didn’t know much about the cause of the war, 7-year-old Bryce Daltan said, “The Civil War is about slavery and freeing the slaves, but they still fought after slavery was abolished.”

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973
Email: aumble@freelancestar.com

The Civil War Camp for Kids kicked off upcoming sesquicentennial commemorations. A major re-enactment will be held May 21-22 at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Most events will take place in Courthouse Village. For details, call 540/507-7094 or visit spotsylvania .org/2011.htm. Advance tickets are needed for events that Saturday night, and space is limited.

Even if you missed the camp, you can still help your kids learn more about the Civil War. Here are some tips for sharing that history with your children:

Ask them their feelings, but also share yours. Slavery is a difficult issue for kids to understand, and war can be disturbing. But talking about the issues is important.

Don’t just visit a battlefield–before you go, read books and study the battle. While there, look for historical markers and exhibits, and ask questions of any volunteers or park rangers.

Complete the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program.

Try to visit a battlefield during the same time of year that the battle was fought.

Attend re-enactments or living-history events.

–civilwarkids.com

Oakland County Executive Wants to Put Civil War Map in Every County Classroom

L. Brooks Patterson unveils map that plots key Civil War sites around Oakland County.

By Mark H. Stowers | Email the author |

Oakland County schools will have a new tool to help teach the history of the Civil War: a map of Oakland County and its significance to the Underground Railroad and other Civil War-era stories and events.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson presented the map in a program at the Governor Moses Wisner House in Pontiac on Thursday. The atmosphere was enhanced by re-enactment Union soldiers and the 5th Michigan Regiment Band in full Union regalia.

“It’s a good educational tool,” Patterson said. “Kids now in our schools in Oakland County are going to learn a little different view of what their great-great-great-grandparents were doing 150 years ago.”

Patterson called it an educational tool that “documents our past.”

“We can look back on it for years to come,” he said.

Patterson’s goal is to get the 4-foot-by-4-foot map into every Oakland County classroom. A curriculum is being developed around the map by Carol Bacak-Egbo, a member of the Oakland County Historical Commission and an employee of Waterford Schools.

“This map is a treasure trove of stories and facts for Oakland County students,” Patterson said.

In addition to the Underground Railroad sites, the map includes stories of a woman disguised as a man working as a Union spy, a Rochester soldier spared from a Confederate hanging and a Lake Orion teacher who became a commander of Michigan’s 102nd Colored Regiment.

The Rochester soldier, Samuel Harris, was responsible for the fountain by the Rochester Police Department; his tale is told in this Rochester Patch story.

The project came to life about one year ago and was put in the hands of Melissa Luginski from the Oakland County Historical Commission.

“The historical commission met with the Oakland County Economic Planning and Development Department to talk about potentially doing a map project and they were open to it,” she explained. “We went to all the historical societies and museums and gathered their information in the summer and early fall. We found a lot more than we thought we’d find.”

Though the map benefits Oakland County, the work was done by volunteers.

“We did this, other than with some of my staff, mostly with volunteers who came in and did the research,” Patterson said. “This map will be converted into an electronic version that can be sent anywhere upon request.”

One member of the crowd Thursday was quite interested in the event: 25-year-old Ryan Johnson of Rochester, a fifth-generation descendant of Gov. Wisner.

“This event is important to me because it’s part of my family, part of my family history and it’s an honor,” Johnson said. “This map will open kids’ minds to what the Civil War was about — something they can grab on to and understand.”

Copies of the map can be purchased for $20 by contacting the One Stop Shop in the Oakland County Executive Office, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford.

Map guide designed to promote region’s Civil War history

By LINDA COMINS , Wheeling Intelligencer

WHEELING – Appalachian Regional Commission officials visited Wheeling Thursday to unveil a new tourism tool, Civil War: The Home Front Map-Guide to Appalachia, designed to boost the economy and attract cultural heritage tourists to the 13-state region.

The national launch of the map-guide took place in the historic courtroom of West Virginia Independence Hall, birthplace of the 35th state. Participants noted that actions taken in the building in 1861-63 helped to preserve the Union and were pivotal to the nation’s fate in the Civil War.

Earl F. Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, said the map-guide “boosts tourism in Appalachia and also highlights great facilities,” such as West Virginia Independence Hall, which he called “a real gem.”

Developed for the 150th-anniversary commemoration of the American Civil War and to boost tourism in the region, the map-guide showcases the diversity of Appalachia’s Civil War heritage attractions. It offers “an enticement for tourists to visit these important places” remarked Travis Henline, the hall’s site manager.

Nineteen sites in the Mountain State, including West Virginia Independence Hall, the Belle Boyd House in Martinsburg, Harpers Ferry National Park, the Shepherdstown Historic District, the Philippi Covered Bridge and Historic Museum, the Rich Mountain battlefield, Jackson’s Mill Historic Site, Grafton National Cemetery, Fort Boreman Civil War Park, Burning Springs Park and the Ohio River Museum (Marietta, Ohio) are featured on the map-guide, created in partnership with American Heritage Publishing and the members of ARC’s Tourism Advisory Council. The map-guide’s 150 sites were selected from more than 500 nominations for destinations and stories.

The featured sites provide visitors with “a glimpse into the human element and human stories of life on the home front in the Civil War,” said Justin Gaull, marketing specialist for the West Virginia Division of Tourism. “We are happy to have this guide as a new piece to our information arsenal,” he added.

West Virginia sites are seeking cultural heritage tourists because they stay longer and spend more money than any other tourists, Gaull explained. A cultural heritage tourist spends an average of $944 per trip, compared to $611 spent by all other U.S. travelers, he said.

Explaining that the ARC’s mission is to create jobs, Gohl said the new map-guide is being distributed to promote heritage sites and provide opportunities for communities throughout the region. He remarked that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is “a unique time in history” to offer this resource.

The commemorative map-guide is available as a free insert in the spring issue of American Heritage magazine. Copies have been distributed by the tourism offices of ARC’s 13 states to targeted traveler mailing lists, regional welcome centers and tourism trade shows. It also is available as an interactive feature online atwww.visitappalachia.com, where additional information specific to each Appalachian state is offered to travelers.

Observing that home front stories have been neglected, Edwin S. Grosvenor, editor-in-chief of American Heritage, said, “These are incredible stories … There are some amazing stories. It’s important that we get these stories out.” He added that home front stories can be used to teach the relevance of the Civil War.

The map-guide highlights heritage farms, railroads, restored houses, historic downtowns, national parks, memorials, living history museums and other attractions .

Todd Anderson, a representative of U.S. Sen Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., read a letter from the senator who said the new tool captures the historic significance and the tourism significance of the Civil War. “Preserving the history of our state and nation is vital to the cultural development of our country,” Manchin stated.

Flynn Altmeyer, a field representative for U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., read a statement from the congressman who saluted “this innovative tourism initiative” and commended the Appalachian Regional Commission for promoting tourism and economic development.

ARC officials said the cultural heritage tourism sector has been growing at twice the rate as the overall travel market, and Appalachia has six of the top 10 states most visited by travelers from this sector.

North-South divide still overshadows how to teach the Civil War

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — You don’t have to look far for examples of how the Civil War stirs public debate 150 years after it began.

A private “secession ball” in Charleston, S.C., pegged to the anniversary in February of the state’s declared exit from the Union, sparked a protest from the local NAACP chapter. In Virginia, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican, got into trouble last year for issuing a proclamation on Confederate History Month without ever mentioning slavery.

Experts say schools can play a powerful role — and hold an important responsibility — in helping young people make sense of a complex conflict whose meaning continues to be hotly disputed in the public sphere. That debate is sure to be amplified, given the prominent attention the war is getting as the sesquicentennial begins this month.

“One hundred and fifty years later, we’re still fighting with many of the same questions,” said Andrew T. Mink, the director of outreach and education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, who has administered a series of federal Teaching American History grants. “People bring a certain cultural understanding of the Civil War, of the Confederacy, of the Union. … If teachers don’t address that, it gets addressed somewhere else.”

Recent polling suggests that Americans remain divided in their views of issues tied to the Civil War. The very idea of designating a Confederate History Month, for instance, which Gov. McDonnell’s two Democratic predecessors declined to do, split those surveyed. Just more than half of U.S. adults said they oppose such a remembrance, according to the poll by Harris Interactive.

Meanwhile, 54 percent of respondents said they believe the South was mainly fighting to preserve slavery, compared with 46 percent who believe the South was mainly fighting for states’ rights. (The poll did not offer further alternatives.)

To be sure, the nation has come a long way. For decades, historians say, slavery had been largely removed from the public conversation about the war and its origins, as had such topics as the role of African-Americans in fighting for the Union. Today, they get much more attention in schools, museums, and planned commemorations of the anniversary.

Most mainstream historians now agree that slavery was the leading reason driving the conflict.

“Slavery is the major cause of the Civil War,” said James I. Robertson, a Civil War historian at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg. “There are people … who will argue to the sky that slavery was just a byproduct, but without slavery, there was no cause for the North and the South to start killing each other.”

That said, Mr. Robertson and others stress that it was by no means the only factor propelling the war, which involved a web of issues, including differences in the Northern and Southern economies, and disputes over the nature of the Union, the role of the federal government, and states’ rights.

History educators say one of the biggest challenges for schools in promoting an accurate and deep understanding of the conflict may well be time. At the secondary level, the topic may be part of a yearlong course that covers the full sweep of American history; a lucky teacher might get two years.

“Teachers often find their time extremely limited to get in-depth with the Civil War,” said Anthony Napoli, the director of education at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in New York City. “The biggest question is what to cover and what to leave out.”

A fundamental understanding of the Civil War is widely seen by historians and history educators as vital for Americans. They call it a defining moment in U.S. history that still has many ramifications and lessons a century and a half later.

“So many of the crucial issues that were connected to the Civil War, its origins and consequences, are still with us today,” said Bernard E. Powers, a history professor at the College of Charleston, in South Carolina. “You only have to think about the question of race.”

“But it’s not just that,” he said, citing, for instance, states’ rights.

“The political problem still manifests itself today,” he said, pointing to recent debates over health care policy. “Can the federal government require people to buy health insurance?”

How schools teach the Civil War flares up from time to time. One recent example concerned a textbook on Virginia history found in many of that state’s public elementary schools. It came under fire last fall, after a parent complained about the book’s contention, widely disputed by historians, that thousands of blacks served as soldiers for the Confederacy.

A review by a panel of historians of Our Virginia: Past and Present and another text from the same publisher, Five Ponds Press, led the state board of education last month to withdraw approval of both and to overhaul its textbook-review process.

When asked whether current teaching on the war reveals regional biases, most history educators interviewed said that if there are differences, they are far more rare than in the past, and less pronounced.

“I have no doubt you’re going to find pockets (of the South) where … this ‘Lost Cause’ view is present (in the classroom), but I’ll tell you, I think it’s much too easy to draw overly simplistic regional distinctions,” said Kevin M. Levin, the history department chairman at the private St. Anne’s-Belfield School, in Charlottesville, Va., who has led workshops to help teachers with the subject. “I don’t think you can draw the same regional distinctions that were drawn a few decades ago.”

“I definitely have sat in on a classroom or two that maybe shocked me with an old school, Old South version of the Civil War or the causes,” said Donald Stewart, the project director for a grant in South Carolina under the federal Teaching American History program.

But he said that, in his experience, this is the rare exception.

“I’m still waiting to come across the teacher … who believes that slavery was a side issue (in the Civil War),” said Paul C. Anderson, an associate professor of history at Clemson University, in South Carolina, who also has worked with many K-12 educators. “I have the exact opposite problem. If I get a question, it’s that a teacher considers the war to be a moral crusade (by the North), and it was not that way.

“You have to understand that slavery,” he added, “was sectional, but racism was national.”

Meanwhile, Kimberley Warrick, a curriculum specialist for a set of Georgia school districts and a former history teacher in Montana and Ohio, said she’s encountered that mind-set. She said she has perceived some misconceptions from teachers and students who don’t live in the South, including that all whites in the antebellum South owned plantations and slaves, and that all Southern whites were, and still are, racist.

“I believe some students may have these misconceptions because time typically does not allow teachers to explore many of the issues deeply,” she said.

In Hartford, Vt., Jennifer Boeri-Boyce, who teaches social studies at Hartford Memorial Middle School, said she tries to help students get past the stereotypes.

Quaker Guns near Manassas, VA. During the initial stages of the Civil War, before First Manassas (Bull Run), the Confederate forces knew that the Federal troops were watching them from balloons in Alexandria. In order to fool the Federal troops that they were heavier fortified than they really were, they used "Quaker Guns" which were chopped down tree trunks, and painted them black and pretended they were cannon. (Library of Congress photo)

“This is not just ‘the North is great, the South is wrong’, but everybody was involved,” she said. “Our Northern textile mills, for example, depended on Southern cotton, and (many) slave ships were owned by Rhode Island-based companies.”

Indeed, historians caution against assuming that Union soldiers were typically motivated by a desire to liberate slaves.

Slavery’s prominence in causing the war “doesn’t mean the North was full of abolitionists, because it wasn’t,” Mr. Powers of the College of Charleston said. “These people were not chomping at the bit to go liberating black folks.”

State Standards

Analysts say textbooks generally do a reasonable job of providing a fair and accurate look at the Civil War, though that was not always so.

“For the longest time, the Civil War was kind of the dividing line,” said Kyle R. Ward, the director of social studies education at St. Cloud State University, in Minnesota, who has examined U.S. history textbooks from different eras. “You could tell fairly quickly if a textbook was published for a Southern state or a Northern state.”

But he doesn’t see such differences in textbooks now.

“They usually do a pretty good job of laying out the arguments as to what may have caused the war, and the major issues,” Mr. Ward said.

Gilbert T. Sewall, the director of the American Textbook Council, a nonprofit research group based in New York City, echoes that sentiment.

“Happily, the Civil War is an area of American history that is not only covered in depth, but is covered adequately or better,” he said.

State standards provide some indication of how schools teach the war, though one analyst suggests that in many places they offer little, if any, guidance.

“Apart from mentioning in passing that the Civil War happened, that’s about all you get in many states, regardless of region,” said Jeremy A. Stern, a history scholar who co-wrote a recent report by the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute that graded state history standards.

He sees little evidence of regional variations in the thrust of Civil War content in states that do get more specific, though he said Southern states are generally more apt to talk about the Civil War in state-history courses, given its impact there.

He added: “There are a number of Southern states that are notably honest in dealing with the realities of slavery and … the coming of the Civil War.” He cited Alabama, South Carolina, and Virginia as examples.

But Mr. Stern singled out another former Confederate state for criticism.

“In Texas, it’s not just a question of omission, but ideological distortion,” he contends. “Slavery is clearly, deliberately downplayed.”

He notes, for example, that sectionalism and states’ rights are listed as causes of the war before slavery, the third item in a list in the Texas standards, which were revised last year.

But Patricia Hardy, a member of the Texas state school board, insists there was no intention to downplay slavery. “If we put it first, we get criticized; if we put it last, we get criticized,” she said. “You can imagine how many people pick and parse what we say.”

The Texas board, led by a block of staunch conservatives, stirred national controversy with its extensive set of changes to the state’s social studies standards. Another Civil War issue that arose concerned Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The board added new language saying students should examine Davis’ inaugural address alongside President Abraham Lincoln’s first and second inaugural addresses, as well as the Gettysburg Address.

A lead editorial in USA Today from April 2010, before the plan was final, called the move a “politically inspired boost” to a “stout defender of slavery.”

Ms. Hardy rejects that charge.

“There is nothing (in the standards) to suggest an equivalency” between the ideas of Lincoln and Davis, she said. The standards, she said, urge students explicitly to “contrast” the speeches.

“They were trying to make a mountain out of a molehill,” Ms. Hardy said, “because we didn’t intend it and didn’t do it.”

The board’s initial proposal, though, was not to “contrast” the two figures’ speeches.

When first approved in January 2010, it said students should “analyze the ideas” in Davis’ address and “Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government.”

The wording was further amended when the board met months later, but Dan Quinn, a spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-based advocacy group, said he finds the language troubling either way.

“The board got a lot of heat for putting Davis in the standard,” recalled Mr. Quinn, whose group has been a sharp critic of the board. “Among the criticisms was that Davis’ inaugural address says absolutely nothing about slavery, the primary reason behind secession. His address is essentially a long diatribe against federal authority.”

Learning history ‘hands on’: MC history class helps curate Civil War exhibit

From Maryville College

Courtesy of the Daily Times, Maryville, Tennessee

African-Americans relied on songs and symbols to communicate the locations of the Underground Railroad.

The explosion of the SS Sultana in 1865 resulted in the greatest maritime disaster in United States history.

SULTANA

The Civil War was fought over more than slavery.

Many students learn these important facts about the Civil War in the classroom, but a group of Maryville College students had the opportunity to learn about the Civil War through a more “hands-on” approach.

Since late February, 24 students in Dr. Aaron Astor’s History 162: Introduction to the Study of History course have been helping curate a Civil War exhibit at the Blount County Historical Museum.

“Courage, Conflict and Chaos: Blount County Celebrates the Civil War Sesquicentennial,” opened Friday and is part of the area’s Civil War sesquicentennial events.

The exhibit, which includes Civil War artifacts, uniforms, flags, weapons, photographs and medical items, focuses on the Civil War as a whole, as well as the Civil War in Blount County, said Astor, assistant professor of history at Maryville College.

Project ‘awesome’

Junior Katie Ammons described the class and museum project as “awesome.” A history major, she has been thinking about becoming a museum curator after graduation.

“This class — seeing everything that goes (into curation) — just confirms that I want to do this,” Ammons said last week, when the class met at the museum to put up a timeline of the Civil War, hang displays and placards and arrange memorabilia in exhibits.

Astor divided the class into groups, and each group has been working on a specific element of the exhibit. Ammons’ focus has been “the Civil War Homefront.” Other students have tackled themes such as the Africa-American experience or Blount County soldiers.

Other groups have focused on artifacts, creating a Civil War timeline, plaque placement and creating captions for photographs.

Astor has been preparing the pre-Civil War portion of the exhibit that focuses on causes of the Civil War.

African Americans room

Maryville College sophomores Vinny Taylor and K.J. Bean said they were excited to get their own room in the museum — a room dedicated to the African-American experience.

Among the items in the room they helped curate are a rope bed, straw-bottomed chair made by a slave near Nashville, daguerreotype of an African-American woman and a map of the Underground Railroad in Friendsville.

Displays in the room explain the importance of the drinking gourd song and the monkey wrench quilt to slaves who wanted to escape to the North.

“It’s incredible how the slaves communicated all those details (about safe locations) without formally speaking,” said Bean, a student from Knoxville.

If you go

The Blount County Historical Museum, located at 1006 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville, is open 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2-4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. For more information, contact the museum at 865-454-4526.

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