GCC’s Civil War Initiative Announces
Fall Speakers

By on August 6, 2014

ChrisMackowskiBATAVIA, NY (08/06/2014)(readMedia)– When St. Bonaventure Professor Chris Mackowski was first scheduled to speak at Genesee Community College, Mother Nature did not cooperate. Inclement weather forced the cancellation of Dr. Mackowksi’s much anticipated talk last spring. Now Mackowski will kick off the fall Civil War Lecture Series on Wednesday, September 3, 2014. It’s the first of four lectures planned in this popular series begun by the College to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861-1865) that shaped our nation. “This is going to be a great line-up of strong and popular speakers,” said Derek Maxfield, assistant professor of History at GCC and coordinator of the College’s Civil War Initiative.

The series begins on September 3rd at 7 p.m. with “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson” presented by Dr. Chris Mackowski. A professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, Dr. Mackowski has written extensively about the Civil War. He is an expert storyteller and a historian for the National Park Service where he gives tours at four major Civil War battlefields as well as the building where Stonewall Jackson died. Jackson’s loss has been called one of the major turning points of the war. Follow his last days, from his flank attack at Chancellorsville and his accidental wounding by his own men, to the amputation of his arm and his final journey over the river to rest under the shade of the trees.

“Hands-down this is my favorite story of the Civil War. Jackson became so legendary-the great martyr of the Lost Cause-but this was a deeply personal tragedy. He left behind a wife and 6-month-old daughter. The human element often gets forgotten,” said Mackowski. The famous Civil War historian Ed Bearrs once said of Mackowski’s lecture that it was “One of the best talks I’ve ever heard!” Dr. Mackowski will share elements of his book “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson” during the talk. A second edition with 60 pages of new material was published in 2013. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, Maxfield will focus on Union General William Tecumseh Sherman in a talk entitled “Marching through the Heart of the Confederacy: Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea.” Sherman became one of the most despised men in the history of Georgia with the destruction caused by his Atlanta Campaign which began in May 1864 and ended with the city’s capture by Sherman’s troops on September 1, 1864. In November 1864 Sherman began his infamous March to the Sea, capturing Savannah two days before Christmas. His successful efforts in Georgia split the confederacy in two and cut their supplies, ultimately sealing the Union victory and ending the war. Professor Maxfield’s talk will begin at 7 p.m.

The Wednesday, November 5, 2014 lecture features Dan Hamner, adjunct instructor of history at GCC who will cover “Uncle Tom’s Twentieth Century Transformation: From Martyr to Mickey Mouse and Muhammad Ali.” This talk will describe the transformation of the 19th Century’s greatest media icon and provide historical insights into our changing memory of Uncle Tom, American Slavery and the Civil War.

The final lecture for the fall semester, scheduled Wednesday, December 3, 2014 features David Armitage, Dona LaValle, and Jeff Fischer in the “The Music of the Civil War” presentation. Music played an important role in the American Civil War as it called men to battle, boosted morale – both on the battlefield and the home front, and stirred patriotism north and south. The program will not only feature stories about the music but also performances of it!

All lectures take place in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building and begin at 7 p.m. All Civil War Initiative events are FREE and open to the public.

For more information, contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.