Monday, February 8, 2010

Nashville Plans 150th Anniversary

Metro Historical Commission plans 150th anniversary of Civil War in Nashville
By Juanita Cousins • THE TENNESSEAN • February 2, 2010

The Metro Historical Commission has formed a committee to gear up for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Nashville.

The war began in 1861 when 11 states, including Tennessee, seceded from the United States and formed the Confederacy. The Union-seized Downtown Presbyterian Church on what is now Fifth Avenue North became a temporary military hospital. The Battle of Nashville was fought over two days in December 1864 on land now known as Green Hills, destroying the Army of Tennessee, the second largest Confederate force.

Historical Commissioner Joan Armour said this is the commission’s first attempt to observe an anniversary of the War Between the States and study its affect on Nashville. During their Jan 25 meeting, commissioners discussed teaming with Metro Nashville Public Schools to teach students how Tennessee was instrumental in the war.

Academy at Opry Mills history teacher Mary Browning Huntington, said she would like to create a Civil War curriculum for private and public school K-12 students. End-of-course testing covers Tennessee history, but that subject is no longer addressed in social studies classroom or textbooks in Metro Schools, she said. “I was shocked to find out they no longer teach Tennessee history, because I taught it to seventh graders eons ago,” said Armour, who is working to create a central calendar of events for the sesquicentennial. “Students need to know about their state. It’s part of their history and part of who they are.”

Commissioners are considering forming a group of speakers to lecture to schools, civic groups and at public events; partnering with a local theater group to present living history tours; producing public service announcements to broadcast on Metro Channel 3; and updating brochures.

Huntington said she is working with school system administrators to increase the number of field trips to local historic landmarks like Fort Negley and the Hermitage.