Ohio University to bring history to life

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2011

As the War Between the States commemorates its 150th anniversary, Ohio University Southern will be bringing to life two of the most recognizable people from that era for a free community event.

On April 15, Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant will debate the Northern and Southern perspectives of the Civil War.

The university and its history club organized the event for the community in hopes of making people more aware of what the confederate and union soldiers were fighting for.

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“It’s important that people know what the actual causes of the war were, and not just think of slavery when they think of the Civil War,” OUS history club president Sabrina Hodges said. “When people think of Confederacy, they automatically think of slavery. It wasn’t just a slavery issue. There were other issues that they were fighting for.

“Not everyone was fighting for slavery in the South. I think it’s important that people know that the North had slaves as well.”

Hodges said the reenactors for the event, Al Stone, who will portray Lee, and Barry Meadows, who will portray Grant, have debated together before and will be personifying the generals, right down to their uniforms.

“It’s living history because they are here and they are personifying those people and they are going to speak as if they were those people,” Hodges said.

The two generals will present their sides of the war and then debate. They will also take questions from the audience.

Hodges said the history club invited Tri-State high schools to attend the first performance at 10 a.m.

The second performance is at 7 p.m. in the Mains Rotunda on campus and is free and open to the public.

Hodges said last year’s history club event, Holocaust survivor Irene Zisblatt’s presentation, was very successful, and hopes the Civil War presentation will be as well.

“I think it would be a great learning experience for all ages,” Hodges said. “You get to see them as they would have spoken. It’s important that we keep our history alive, good and bad.”