May 27 2011 COOKEVILLE, Tenn.

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Tennessee's Sesquicentennial Commission announces the state's second Sesquicentennial Signature Event, taking place Sept. 6 and 7 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. The theme for the event is "Civil War in the Borderland."  Kix Brooks, country music artist and owner of Arrington Vineyards, is slated to make a special appearance for the event.

"The Civil War Sesquicentennial will focus the world's attention on this pivotal time in our nation's history," said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.  "We expect thousands of visitors to make their way to Tennessee to learn about the state's role in the war."

The event will consist of historical discussions, musical performances, stories and living history demonstrations. TTU joins the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Tennessee Historical Society and the Upper Cumberland Civil War Roundtable to sponsor a series of distinguished speakers and other events in Cookeville.

"Tennessee is creating a national model for how to plan and commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial by sharing how the war impacted families, farms and towns across the state as well as leaving tens of thousands of brave soldiers dead on its 38 designated nationally significant battlefields," said Dr. Carroll Van West, director of MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

 Dr. Gary Gallagher of the University of Virginia will kick off the keynote address on Sept. 6. Gallagher's presentation, sponsored by the Upper Cumberland Civil War Roundtable and Tennessee Tech University, will feature Understanding the Civil War: Causes, Meaning and Memory After 150 Years.

 "With at least one Civil War battle fought in each of Tennessee's 95 counties, this state was a crucial location for both the Union and the Confederate armies," said TTU President Bob Bell "We're proud that TTU, 150 years later, can be the location for a commemoration with such a rich heritage and historical significance."

For the first time, Tennessee State Library and Archives will host the Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee event as part of the Sesquicentennial Signature Event on Sept. 6 from 10a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cookeville History Museum. The Looking Back project allows Tennesseans to digitally preserve Civil War photos and memorabilia to create a permanent, public archive online.

 A series of four speakers have been lined up for a symposium Sept. 7. They include:

 • Dr. Charles Bryan of the Virginia Historical Society, who will present a regional overview of the Civil War

 • Dr. Connie Lester of the University of Central Florida, who will speak about Lucy Virginia French's Civil War and the southern plateau perspective

 • Dr. Brian McKnight of the University of Virginia's College at Wise, who will speak about his recently published book, Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia

 • Dr. Larry Whiteaker of TTU will detail the Civil War in the Upper Cumberland region.

 Tennessee is the only entire state designated by the U.S. Congress as a Civil War National Heritage area. Another important Sesquicentennial initiative is Tennessee's Civil War Trails program. The program is part of a multi-state Civil War Trails initiative which interprets and creates driving tours of both the great campaigns and the lesser-known Civil War sites. Tennessee, ranking in the top two states for Civil War battlefield sites, joins four other states in this important project. The entire program has been identified by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the most successful and sustainable heritage tourism programs in the nation.

Registration for Tennessee's Sesquicentennial Signature Event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit tncivilwar150.com.


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Cindy Dupree
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