War Re-Enactment is racist?

Roughly two years ago, when the uproar about Confederate Civil War monuments was at its peak, the Chicago Tribune reported on a monument to Confederate soldiers far north of the Mason-Dixon Line, in Chicago itself. The monument was at the site of a mass grave of soldiers who died as prisoners of war (POWs) at Camp Douglas, at which more Confederate prisoners died than any other, in overcrowded and disease-filled conditions.

In April 2018, a group calling itself “Smash White Supremacy Chicago” held a protest to call for the monument to be taken down, as a counter-protest to an event by the “Sons of Confederate Veterans.”

Not far away, in Madison, Wisconsin, the city council voted in 2018 to remove a monument listing the names of Confederate POWs buried at a local cemetery, overruling the Landmarks Commission which deemed the structure to be a grave marker (since those names are no longer visible on individual markers).

Now there’s a new front in the local battle, as the Chicago Tribune’s Lake County local news section reports, “Lake County Forest Preserves chair calls for end to Civil War Days; resident says, ‘This has nothing we want, nor should celebrate, nor re-enact’.”

Civil War Days is a 27-year tradition hosted at the Lakewood Forest Preserve, the largest forest preserve in Lake County—the county north of Chicago, bordering Wisconsin to the north and Lake Michigan to the east. It was formerly the home of the Lake County Discovery Museum but when the museum relocated in 2017, the re-enactment event remained at Lakewood.  For a price of $10, visitors could enjoy a variety of activities and learn about not just military history but daily life of the era.

Read the rest at: Civil War

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