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Civil War Lecture Series Continued at ASU

September 06, 2012

On the 150thanniversary of the Battle of Antietam and the bloodiest day in American history, Angelo State University’s Civil War Lecture Series will resume for the second year with “Reading the Civil War:  Favorite Civil War Books,” featuring nine local presenters.

The program will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, in the Learning Commons on the first floor of ASU’s Porter Henderson Library.  The program is open free to the public.  Nine speakers will read selections from both classic books on the Civil War and correspondence written by Civil War ancestors.  Presenters reading from books will be:

  • Dr. Maurice G. Fortin, moderator and ASU’s executive director of library services, The Golden Book of the Civil War by Charles Flato and The Civil War and Reconstruction by J. G. Randall and David Herbert Donald;
  • Don Cheek, events manager for special events facilities/services at ASU, Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith and Hardtack and Coffee by John Billings;
  • Dr. Kenneth J. Heineman, department head and professor of history, The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash;
  • Preston Lewis, director of communications and marketing at ASU, A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton;
  • Dr. William A. Taylor, assistant professor of security studies, The Narrative and Selected Writings of Frederick Douglass; and
  • Dr. Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, assistant professor of history, This Hallowed Ground by Bruce Catton and “The Martyr” by Herman Melville.

Presenters reading original Civil War materials will be:

  • Dr. Robert S. “Rob” Ehlers, director of ASU’s Center for Security Studies, “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln;
  • Laurel Scott, education reporter for the San Angelo Standard-Times, The Life and Times of Colonel William Lamb 1835-1909, a self-published biography of her great great grandfather, who was the commander of Fort Fisher outside Wilmington, N.C., during the Civil War; and
  • Harriet K. Lewis, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, original Civil War correspondence of James Wood of the 199th Pennsylvania and Francis Catherine Wood, her great great grandparents.

Wongsrichanalai, a Civil War scholar and coordinator for ASU’s 2012-13 Civil War Lecture Series, said, “For the first Civil War commemoration event of this academic year, I wanted to draw upon the passion of people in the Angelo State and San Angelo communities to demonstrate that the war still speaks to us in very different ways.  Some of us became interested in the conflict through novels or other artistic representations of the contest.  Some of us have a strong affinity for eccentric and inspiring figures from the war.  Some of us are tied to the war through our kinship and our long family histories extending into the past.

“Participants in the first event, ‘Reading the Civil War,’ will read excerpts from their favorite Civil War history books, children’s stories, novels, and poems,” he continued.  “Others will read from primary sources – documents that were written at the time of the conflict – and explain why those 150-year-old words still move them in powerful ways.  Some participants will read from their family correspondences that have been preserved from the period.  I hope the event will demonstrate that there are many different ways that people feel connected with and become interested in the war.  I also hope that the event will entice audience members to learn more about the war that left an indelible mark on America.”

Other programs in ASU’s 2012-13 Civil War Lecture Series are:

  • Oct. 16, “Civil War Literature,” by ASU English faculty, 7 p.m., C. J. Davidson Conference Center, Houston Harte University Center;
  • Nov. 13, “Mules, the Civil War and the Texas Frontier,” Dr. Emmett Essin, professor of history, East Tennessee State University, 7 p.m., Fort Concho Stables;
  • Jan. 29, “Soldier Motivation and Life,” ASU history faculty, 7 p.m., Davidson Center;
  • Feb. 8, “The Problem of Slavery in Early Texas,” Dr. Andrew Torget, assistant professor of history, University of North Texas, 7 p.m., Fort Concho;
  • March 26, “An Evening of Civil War Music,” ASU music faculty, 7 p.m., Davidson Center; and
  • April 17, “My Beloved Companion:  A Dramatic Reading of the Civil War Letters of James and Frances Catherine Wood,” 7 p.m., ASU Auditorium, Mayer Administration Building.

Persons interested in more information on the Civil War series can e-mail the ASU History Department at

Wongsrichanalai said the goal of the lecture series is to engage the community in reflection on the Civil War and its impact, even on contemporary society.  He said the lecture series would also be a learning experience for secondary school teachers and their students.

The Civil War series is jointly sponsored by multiple ASU departments, including the History Department, Center for Security Studies, West Texas Collection, Multicultural Center and Air Force ROTC, as well as Fort Concho and the Concho Valley Civil War Roundtable, to commemorate the watershed event in American history.