The Southern Museum of Kennesaw hosted an educational event for the closing days of the 2023 Black History Month celebrations


By Evan Bursinger

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History offered an educational event for the Kennesaw area on February 25 to teach people in the community the stories of the downtrodden.

The Southern Museum, a Smithsonian collaborator, hosted an event to celebrate Black History Month on Saturday, February 25. The celebration aimed to educate the public about African American history, or more specifically how Black Americans helped found the country, particularly during the years of internal conflict known as the Civil War.

Many of these past contributions went unheard in the public consciousness, were either censored or ignored by those responsible for dissemination. These events were highlighted by those responsible for the event.

“We hope to help spread messages from those who may have been silenced by history,” said Josh Trower, one of the speakers and a descendant of an African American soldier who fought in the Civil War. “We want to tell the whole story of the South.”

Trower is the Southern Museum’s educational program coordinator and was the driving force behind organizing the event for the community. He often helps conduct tours of the museum, educational field trips for younger children, and other various community events throughout the year.

The event had a major focus on fun hands-on activities for children in the Kennesaw community. One of the events aimed at the participating children was a quilt activity. This activity focused on the shared pastime of African-American artist Harriet Powers, a woman born into slavery in rural Northeast Georgia.

She was known for her unique storytelling techniques through her quilt designs, using methods common in West Africa. According to a handout given to guests at the event’s Museum Day, Powers now has two quilts on display in museums, one at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

One of the most popular parts of the event was the hourly musket fire in front of the museum’s entrance. At the front of the lot stood two African American men dressed in replica Civil War Union soldier’s uniforms and armed with replica muskets. At the end of each lesson, the two re-enactors demonstrated the methods used by soldiers during the Civil War to fire their weapons, a very tedious and arduous task.

Two black men dressed as Union Civil War soldiers fire muskets
Two black men dressed as Union Civil War soldiers fire muskets (photo by Evan Bursinger)

Trower can be seen at left firing his replica musket alongside James Hayes, a longtime Civil War reenactor in the Southeast who has been involved with the activity since 1989. The two hope to raise awareness of the impact of the Civil War on African Americans. “By the end of the war, African Americans made up 10 percent of the union army,” Hayes said. “African Americans helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the union.”

Reenactors Trower and Hayes were also set from a recreation of a Civil War soldier’s camp, where they pointed out to curious children and explained how soldiers used to survive while away from home to help in battle.

Other activities at the event included a track workers activity, an electrical circuit experimentation activity, and an activity on the 6888th Mail Battalion.

“The turnout was great,” said Superintendent John Sexton. “It’s always good to host events like this for the community.”

Admission to the Southern Museum’s various events is included in general admission, according to the museum’s official website, free for children ages 2 and under, $5 for children ages 3 to 17, $5 for active duty military or students with ID, $10 for adults, and $8 for seniors 65 and older. Some events to watch out for are the museum’s Mommy & Me activity event on May 4th, the French Thanksgiving celebration on May 6th, and Civil War History Day on June 10th, 2023.

Evan Bursinger is a 3rd year journalism student at Kennesaw State University. He enjoys spending time with his friends in the school marching band and blogging about any form of art that catches his eye.

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