[PAST EVENT] States' Rights v. Civil Rights
May 10, 2013 - November 10, 2013
LocationSwem Library, Marshall Gallery, 1st floor Rotunda
400 Landrum Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Conceived as a demonstration of American Cold War consensus, the Civil War centennial, 1961-1965, revealed how divided the country remained 100 years after Fort Sumter. Several states organized impressive centennial observances, with none on so grand a scale or as widely recognized as Virginia's. While the Virginia celebration attracted little controversy and many tourists, at the national level the commercialized brothers war commemoration struck many as a diversion from the key issue of slavery. African Americans' ongoing struggle for civil rights nearly 100 years after abolition contrasted sharply with a celebration that glorified the Confederacy and for the most part ignored African Americans. And when the Centennial Commission scheduled their national assembly at a segregated hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, the papered-over cracks in the American consensus broke open for the world to see.