GDG- NPs & Slavery

Tom Ryan pennmardel at
Tue Jan 3 09:22:50 CST 2012

<<The thing that everyone is missing here who complains about the mention
of slavery in the VC movie is that, for many Americans, Gettysburg will
be their only taste of CW History.  It may be still, after 150 years, be
comfortable to for some to face, but without the South's allegiance to
slavery there would have been no secession, without secession there
would have been no war, and without the war there would have been no
Battle of Gettysburg.  It's inclusion in the overall discussion of the
battle isn't just appropriate, it is in my view essential.>>


I think you are missing the point in this discussion.  I have no objection
to the "mention" of slavery in the introductory film; however, I do object
to the hijacking of the Gettysburg story to fulfill an objective that should
be accomplished elsewhere.

The fact that Americans will get their only taste of history at Gettysburg
is a non-starter.  It is not the responsibility of the NPS at Gettysburg to
fill a void left the educational system in America regarding the slavery
issue.  The government and/or the NPS itself can and should do this
elsewhere -- not at Gettysburg.

Again, it is all a matter of degree.  From my perspective, people come to
Gettysburg by the millions to learn more about what happened "there."  It is
not the time or the place to conduct a tutorial on the slavery issue.  In
fact, by doing so, it would only tend to distort the understanding of the
import of the battle itself.

Your concern about slavery being seen as the cause of secession is certainly
legitimate, but people should be given the opportunity to pursue the issues
related to the Civil War at their own leisure and level of desire.  It is
inappropriate IMO for the NPS to impose itself on these visitors with a
politically correct agenda that dictates that these visitors will learn
about the slavery issue whether they want to or not.

Tom Ryan

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