Civil War commemoration plans ongoing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — A reenactment of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglass debates at the gazebo on the bluff is one idea that might come to life to honor the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War, Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture Museum Director Darrell White said.

A group of historians, park rangers and re-enactors, as well as representatives of the Natchez National Park Foundation, Historic Natchez Foundation, United Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy and the NAPAC museum have met three times to discuss plans for the Civil War 150th year anniversary, starting in 2011.

The group has been meeting at the Historic Natchez Foundation headquarters to brainstorm ideas and begin forming strategies for the regional commemoration, White said.

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He said the goal is to plan several big events spaced out over four years, which will lead up to the tricentennial celebration of the city of Natchez in 2016.

Natchezians are likely to see an event at the Natchez City Cemetery to honor those buried there who fought on both sides, including thousands of soldiers from the United States Colored Troops, White said. He said this would give locals a chance to learn local history of the cemetery as well as Civil War history.

Although members of the Civil War Sesquicentennial have many ideas for ways to celebrate and honor the war’s anniversary, White said the group is still in the early organizing stage.

He said the local commemoration effort is part of a larger, nationwide celebration.

“The city of Natchez played a significant role in the early history of this nation, which is why we should also participate in the planning of these activities,” White said.

White said he also expects tourists to travel to the Old Natchez District to witness the commemorative events.

“(The Civil War Sesquincentennial is) another offering of the rich history and heritage of the city of Natchez.”