WBEZ | civil war http://www.wbez.org/tags/civil-war Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago's forgotten Civil War prison camp http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-forgotten-civil-war-prison-camp-111688 <p><p>When Chris Rowland&rsquo;s co-worker told him that Chicago was once home to a Civil War prison camp, he almost didn&rsquo;t believe it. But a bit of Googling led Chris to a name, Camp Douglas, and a location, Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood. It also led him to the camp&rsquo;s gloomy history, one that included dismal living conditions and a death toll that numbered in the thousands. Beyond that, though, Chris, a 36-year-old sales engineer at a South Side manufacturing company, found hardly any information about the camp. So he came to Curious City for help:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why was there a prison camp in Chicago during the Civil War and why did so many people die there? What happened to it?</em></p><p>Camp Douglas was one of the largest POW camps for the Union Army, located in the heart of Bronzeville. More than 40,000 troops passed through the camp during its nearly four years in operation. What&rsquo;s more &mdash; and this is where it gets gloomier &mdash; it&rsquo;s been hyperbolically remembered by some historians as the &ldquo;deadliest prison in American history&rdquo; and &ldquo;eighty acres of hell.&rdquo; So the fact that Chris, despite his earnest attempt, didn&rsquo;t find much on Camp Douglas interested Curious City, too. How could one of the deadliest Civil War prison camps virtually disappear from our collective memory? Answering this part of Chris&rsquo;s question had us consider how a city acknowledges the darker parts of its past and the benefits, if any, of remembering them at all.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why Chicago? </span></p><p>Located on the South Side of Chicago around 31st Street between Cottage Grove Avenue and present-day Martin Luther King Drive, Camp Douglas occupied roughly four square blocks &mdash; about 80 acres total &mdash; and operated from 1861 to 1865. Back then the area was the country, outside the city limits. Today, it&rsquo;s Bronzeville.</p><p>When it opened in 1861, Camp Douglas was a training and enlistment center for Union soldiers, a pit stop or starting point for soldiers headed to the battlefield. In other words, it had been improvised, and wasn&rsquo;t meant to hold prisoners or last more than a couple years. After all, no one thought the Civil War would go on as long as it did.</p><p>But then, in February 1862, Ulysses S. Grant captured roughly 5,000 Confederate soldiers in a victory at the Battle of Fort Donelson at the Tennessee-Kentucky border. With nowhere else for the captured troops to go, Camp Douglas became a Union Army prisoner-of-war camp, and it stayed one for the duration of the war.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">As it turns out, Chicago&rsquo;s role as a transportation hub made it an ideal location first for a training camp and, later, for a prison. Eight railroads crisscrossed the region in a spaghetti soup of tracks that allowed goods to move to and fro. Young men could travel from various parts of the state to enlist. From there, the Union Army would assemble regiments and brigades and ship soldiers by rail to the front lines.</div><p>What&rsquo;s more, the camp&rsquo;s location was directly off the Illinois Central Railroad. At the time, this was the longest railroad in the world, running from Cairo, Illinois, along the Ohio River, to Chicago. History buffs may recall that at the beginning of the war Cairo was General Grant&rsquo;s staging location for Union attacks on the Confederacy. Once he captured Confederate troops, they were only a steamboat and train ride away from Camp Douglas.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v4/curiouscity.l4pfhnm5/page.html?access_token=pk.eyJ1IjoiY3VyaW91c2NpdHkiLCJhIjoibGM3MUJZdyJ9.8oAw072QHl4POJ3fRQAItQ#13/41.8593/-87.6501" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/camp douglas map still.PNG" style="height: 291px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Camp Douglas sat on about 80 acres of land around what is now 31st Street between Cottage Grove Ave. and Martin Luther King Drive. Click for larger map." /></a>&ldquo;Camp Douglas was Chicago&rsquo;s principal connection to the Civil War,&rdquo; says Theodore Karamanski, a history professor at Loyola University in Chicago and the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Chicago-Eyewitness-History/dp/0821420844" target="_blank"><em>Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History</em></a>.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 24px;">&lsquo;Eighty acres of hell&rsquo;</span></p><p>Camp Douglas&rsquo; makeshift nature showed in its rickety wooden barracks and crude sewer system. Soon, though, the camp was taking on more and more prisoners and keeping them for longer and longer. But because neither side intended on taking large numbers of prisoners for extended periods of time, Camp Douglas &mdash; as well as most other Civil War prison camps &mdash; proved unprepared to handle them.</p><p>&ldquo;That is when all the prison camps got a lot nastier,&rdquo; Karamanski says.</p><p>The camp was meant for no more than 6,000 prisoners, and as its ranks grew to roughly 12,000 at its peak it became more dangerous than any battlefield. Overcrowding and poor sanitation spread diseases such as dysentery, smallpox, typhoid fever and tuberculosis. Illness became the camp&rsquo;s leading cause of death, claiming roughly 4,500 Confederate soldiers, or 17 percent of the total number of men imprisoned at the camp during its nearly four years in operation, according to Karamanski&rsquo;s estimate. In his book, Karamanski cites an 1862 report by the U.S. Sanitary Commission, wherein an agent admonished Camp Douglas for its &ldquo;foul stinks,&rdquo; &ldquo;unventilated and crowded barracks,&rdquo; and &ldquo;soil reeking of with miasmic accretions&rdquo; as &ldquo;enough to drive a sanitarian to despair.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="377" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ihNZ1PKt3yGIsJVdIok4GmOU27ZyCU_-xa6bQ5Tgvc4/embed?start=false&amp;loop=false&amp;delayms=5000" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Karamanski estimates that during the Civil War only one in three soldiers died on the battlefield. The rest died in prison camps or camps of their own army.</p><p>&ldquo;Disease was rampant in Camp Douglas and it was rampant in the Civil War. More people in the Civil War died of diseases than from bullets,&rdquo; says David Keller, the managing director of the <a href="http://www.campdouglas.org/" target="_blank">Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation</a> and the author of a forthcoming book about the history of the camp.</p><p>Still, Karamanski is quick to refute the claim that Camp Douglas was &ldquo;the deadliest prison camp in America,&rdquo; as some historians claim. &ldquo;Civil War prison camps were terrible,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;All of them were terrible.&rdquo;</p><p>While Camp Douglas may have claimed more Confederate lives than any other <em>Union</em> prison camp, it pales in comparison to Andersonville, a Confederate prison in Georgia that offered neither barracks nor fresh water to its Union prisoners. In all, 13,000 men, or 28 percent of the total prison population, perished there, Karamanski says.</p><p>Given these details, it&rsquo;s probably no surprise that escapes occurred regularly at the camp. Many escape attempts were made by digging tunnels into the soft, swampy ground, but most came from bribing the guards. It is estimated that roughly 500 prisoners escaped from Camp Douglas one way or another.</p><p>Again, security was lax because the camp had never been intended to hold prisoners. &ldquo;They barely had any kind of wall up,&rdquo; Karamanski says. &ldquo;Some of the prisoners would just wander off and say &lsquo;Hey, let&rsquo;s go get a drink.&rsquo;&rdquo; Drunk and emaciated soldiers (still wearing their Confederate garb), would be picked up by local police and hauled, stumbling, back to the camp. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Camp Douglas as local spectacle</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/women%20visiting.jpg" style="height: 459px; width: 620px;" title="When Camp Douglas was first opened, Chicagoans had free access to the site. Above, visitors with picnic baskets arrive at the camp. (Photo courtesy Chicago History Museum) " /></p><p>Recall that Chris, our question-asker, could find little about the camp &mdash; as though the place had become a secret. Secrecy was certainly not the case during the war, though. In the camp&rsquo;s early days, Chicago residents were allowed free access to the camp. &ldquo;People were excited that here was the enemy, tamed, incarcerated and for your viewing,&rdquo; Karamanski says. Sometimes, though, visitors &mdash; likely Confederate sympathizers &mdash; would end up walking out with a prisoner.</p><p>Soon, though, the camp tightened up security and stopped admitting visitors.</p><p>At that point, a local businessman got an idea. Utilizing a hotel across the street from the camp, he built a viewing platform where he charged customers 10 cents a pop to climb a stairway up to a wooden platform to catch a glimpse of the rebels. &ldquo;It was a real treat for a lot of kids to see those Confederates,&rdquo; Karamanski says.<a name="tower"></a></p><p><iframe align="middle" frameborder="0" height="421" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/cdmap.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em>Above: An 1864 illustration of Camp Douglas as seen from a Union observation tower, contrasted with a Google Earth view of the area today. The center bar can slide left or ride to hide or reveal either side.</em></p><p>When the Civil War concluded in the spring of 1865, Camp Douglas&rsquo; prisoners were given a set of clothes and a one-way train ticket out of the city. The camp itself was razed, rather quickly, by scavengers as well as the government, selling off the equipment as surplus. &nbsp;</p><p>When summer rolled around, though, &nbsp;the camp parade ground gave way to a new sport that returning union soldiers had learned during wartime: baseball. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Soldiers came back from the war and they&rsquo;d lost a lot of their youth,&rdquo; Karamanski says. &ldquo;Some of the first baseball games by Chicago&rsquo;s elite teams were played at Camp Douglas. ... It helped erase some of the memories of the war.&rdquo;</p><p>But Karamanski suspects baseball may have helped erase part of a larger memory, too: public memory, or in this case, the way a city tells the story of itself.</p><p>For the most part, the history of that memory nearly had Camp Douglas written out.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Remembering the forgotten</span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/oak%20woods%20plot%20for%20web.jpg" style="height: 409px; width: 620px;" title="A monument in Oak Woods Cemetery at 67th Street and Cottage Grove marks the largest mass grave in the Western Hemisphere, or where roughly 4,000 Confederate soldiers who died at Camp Douglas are buried. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>When we first meet Chris, our Curious Citizen, it&rsquo;s a bitterly cold day in late January and we stand on what Keller and others claim is the largest mass grave in the Western Hemisphere:<a href="http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/Illinois/Confederate_Mound_Oak_Woods_Cemetery.html" target="_blank"> a mound of roughly 4,000 Confederate soldiers</a> who died at Camp Douglas, now buried at Oak Woods Cemetery at 67th Street and Cottage Grove. (The soldiers had originally been buried in City Cemetery, now Lincoln Park. But soon after the war, the city thought better of placing the dead so close to Lake Michigan &mdash; Chicago&rsquo;s principal source of drinking water. That cemetery was closed and the Confederate soldiers were moved to Oak Woods, the only cemetery that would accept them.)</p><p>Staring up at the forty-foot-tall bronze and granite memorial where a despondent-looking Confederate soldier stands atop a granite column, bowing his head in remembrance, Chris asks: &nbsp;&ldquo;So why do you think it was forgotten about? Why was it swept under the rug?&rdquo;</p><p>First off, <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/curiouscity/chicagofire/" target="_blank">the Great Chicago Fire </a>came just six years after Camp Douglas closed, sapping resources and shifting the city&rsquo;s priority away from the South Side. Then came the Great Migration, where hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated North on the same railroad that once transported soldiers from Camp Douglas to the front lines of the Civil War. When they arrived in Chicago, African Americans began settling in Bronzeville. It&rsquo;s safe to say probably the last thing on their mind was exploring their neighborhood&rsquo;s lost history, centering on those who had previously fought to keep them enslaved. Then came the post World War II housing shortage and the urban renewal of the 1960s. &ldquo;There was a lot of reason to forget about it,&rdquo; Keller says of the camp.</p><p>But at the center of this question of why Camp Douglas was forgotten is the obvious tension of an African-American neighborhood and a city rooted in Union ideals taking steps to remember thousands of dead soldiers who fought on the side to uphold slavery.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think you can&rsquo;t ever discount the impact of race on Chicago memory,&rdquo; Karamanski says. &ldquo;So when dealing with the memory of oppression and racism &nbsp;&mdash; &nbsp;which is what the Civil War represents &nbsp;&mdash; &nbsp;it&rsquo;s never going to be something that&rsquo;s broadly consensual because it&rsquo;s a <em>felt </em>history.&rdquo;</p><p>And that strife over how to remember what happened at Camp Douglas didn&rsquo;t come about over time. There was deep-rooted animosity toward the Confederate cause from the moment the war ended.</p><p>In 1895, the night before President Grover Cleveland and his entire cabinet presided over the dedication of the memorial in Oak Woods, the monument was defaced by vandals. Later, a private citizen erected a more permanent protest, which still stands; just yards away from the memorial to the dead rebel soldiers a large granite marker honors those Southerners who resisted secession as &ldquo;martyrs of human freedom.&rdquo;</p><p>The issue reared itself again in 1992, when The Commission on Chicago Landmarks proposed to make the Oak Woods mound a historic landmark, drawing the ire of black alderman. &ldquo;Here is a group of people who looked upon my people as animals, as subhuman,&rdquo; then-Alderman Allen Streeter <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-10-02/news/9203300191_1_landmark-status-civil-war-monument" target="_blank">told the <em>Chicago Tribune</em></a>. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d rather forget about the whole thing,&rdquo; he added.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sign%20and%20funeral%20home.jpg" title="The first official acknowledgment of Camp Douglas was erected in the fall of 2014 outside of Ernie Griffin's former funeral home at 32nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>That&rsquo;s the same year that Ernie Griffin got involved. He ran the Griffin Funeral home at 32nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive &mdash; right smack on the former camp&rsquo;s site. The African-American funeral operator learned his grandfather had enlisted in the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry at Camp Douglas. Griffin decided, much to the neighborhood&rsquo;s chagrin, to erect a memorial to honor the dead rebels. It included a Confederate battle flag flown at half-mast. &ldquo;This was like an incitement to many African Americans,&rdquo; Karamanski says. After the flag kept getting torn down, Griffin took out an ad in the <em>Chicago Defender</em>, the city&rsquo;s African-American newspaper. In his book, Karamanski quotes Griffin, saying, &ldquo;The flag is not a symbol of hate. It is a symbol of respect for a dead human being.&rdquo; Griffin has since died, and the memorial was taken down when the funeral home closed in 2007.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Remembering the cost of victory</span></p><p>According to Karamanski, one of the most important things to keep in mind while trying to preserve history is the way we tell stories about the past ... as well as who tells them.</p><p>&ldquo;If we try to memorialize Camp Douglas in such a way that we don&rsquo;t share the story, share the authority in creating the site with the people in the community, then you&rsquo;re asking for trouble,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a lesson being considered by Bernard Turner and David Keller, directors of the <a href="http://www.campdouglas.org/" target="_blank">Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation</a>, which plans to build a museum somewhere on the site of the former camp. Keller says they are &ldquo;very, very close&rdquo; to being able to announce a location.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s important to know what&rsquo;s in your neighborhood,&rdquo; says Turner.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s building community pride,&rdquo; adds Ke<span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Cambria; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">ller.</span></p><p>After the rocky attempts to memorialize Camp Douglas and the soldiers who died there, seeking to remember Camp Douglas has been going more smoothly lately. &nbsp;In 2014 the foundation helped persuade the Illinois Historical Society to erect the first official acknowledgement of the camp: a small plaque at 32nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive informing residents and passersby that they are in fact walking upon significant history. The foundation&rsquo;s also included the local public school, Pershing East, in its various projects, which include two archeological digs of the site. And it has discussed its efforts with the <a href="http://www.dusablemuseum.org/" target="_blank">DuSable Museum of African American History</a>.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SHERRY%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Sherry Williams, president of the Bronzeville Historical Society, says it's important to remember Camp Douglas as not only a prison camp, but also a place where black union soldiers and confederate prisoners intersected. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>For Sherry Williams, president of the Bronzeville Historical Society, there&rsquo;s potential in telling stories about Camp Douglas that move beyond its brutal legacy.</p><p>&ldquo;We look at the Camp Douglas story as being told just about the miserable conditions that were faced by these prisoners of war, but there are wider stories to need to be expounded on,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not one narrative, it&rsquo;s multiple narratives.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>One such narrative hits close to Williams. After looking into the camp&rsquo;s death records, she discovered that a soldier named S.G. Cooper died at the camp. He was a Southerner whose family owned her direct ancestor, Nero Cooper, a former slave who enlisted in the Union&rsquo;s African-American infantry. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a tie between Confederate soldiers and the Union black soldiers,&rdquo; Williams says. &ldquo;Here&rsquo;s the intersection of the fight for freedom.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Karamanski says, it&rsquo;s okay if the way we remember Camp Douglas is kind of dark.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s true that Camp Douglas is a dark shadow on Chicago&rsquo;s history. But it also reminds us what the Civil War was about,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;You didn&rsquo;t go ahead and end slavery without a fight. But we&rsquo;re honest only if we really understand the cost that victory &nbsp;&mdash; &nbsp;of saving the union and ending slavery.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker_1.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Curious Citizen Chris Rowland, right, at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">Chris Rowland, Curious Citizen</span></p><p>Chris Rowland is a 36-year-old sales engineer at a South Side manufacturing company. He lives in Uptown and was reading <em><a href="http://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/utc/" target="_blank">Uncle Tom&rsquo;s Cabin</a></em> when he got to thinking about the Civil War and what connection Chicago might have to it.</p><p>The topic then presented itself at work. &ldquo;One of the guys mentioned that there was actually a prison camp in the actual city in Chicago,&rdquo; he says. Except, &ldquo;nobody could remember what the actual name of it was.&rdquo;</p><p>He says one of the guys thought the name might have been Camp Burnham. Another guy thought the camp &nbsp;was called the Andersonville Prison, confusing the name of Chicago&rsquo;s North Side neighborhood with the famous civil war prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia.</p><p>But when Rowland searched a bit more on Google, he learned about the camp&rsquo;s real name, but not much else. When he submitted us this question about a year and a half ago, he says he was surprised at how difficult it was to find any information about Camp Douglas.</p><p>And though he&rsquo;s not a Chicago-native &mdash; or a history buff, he says &mdash; learning more about Camp Douglas, Chicago and the Civil War has put a bit of his own life into perspective.</p><p>&ldquo;I grew up in Oklahoma,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We weren&rsquo;t even a state yet.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Meribah Knight is a freelance journalist in Chicago and reports for WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City. Follow her at <a href="http://www.meribahknight.com/" target="_blank">meribahknight.com</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/meribah" target="_blank">@meribah</a>.</em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of where Mr. Nero Cooper had enlisted in the Union Army. According to Sherry Williams, he enlisted in the Union Army in Tennessee.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-forgotten-civil-war-prison-camp-111688 Digging up the history of a Civil War camp on Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/digging-history-civil-war-camp-chicagos-south-side-110969 <p><p dir="ltr">For days now, students and volunteers have dug up parts of a Bronzeville school yard on South Giles Avenue. They worked inside a bright orange net on a grassy field next to Pershing East Magnet School. This was once the southwest corner of Camp Douglas... and they&rsquo;re looking for proof.</p><p dir="ltr">Chris Brink is one of about a dozen DePaul University students and alumni which worked with the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. So far, there&rsquo;s been four digs of the 60-acre site. It&rsquo;s believed over 30,000 union soldiers trained and lived here before heading East for battle.</p><p dir="ltr">Previous digs have turned up a few nails, glass, and what they believe to be the main building&rsquo;s foundation.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/keller.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="David Keller, the managing director of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. (Andrew Gill/WBEZ) " />David Keller is with the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. He said the problem with a dig like this, in an urban area, is that things have been built and torn down, sewers have been put in, lights have been erected and a lot of the historical stuff has been disrupted.</p><p dir="ltr">The goal of the excavation is to uncover enough relics to fill the museum they plan to build. But it&rsquo;s also a lesson in how history is recorded. Most of the primary sources of the camp come from old letters and <em>Chicago Tribune</em> stories.</p><p dir="ltr">And Brink said relics could paint a better picture of daily life at the camp.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It sheds light on to stuff that&rsquo;s not in the history books. So, basically we are rewriting history,&rdquo; Brink said. &ldquo;And to do that, you need to go out and find it.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">And this includes the darker parts of the sites history; its reputation as a &ldquo;death camp.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">After the Union captured Tennessee&rsquo;s Fort Donelson, the federal government needed to find places to house thousands of confederate prisoners. A third of Camp Douglas&rsquo;s 200 buildings housed POWs.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/turner.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Bernard Turner, a director of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" />And many of these confederate soldiers were not used to Chicago&rsquo;s harsh winters. Thousands died of pneumonia, smallpox and malaria.</p><p dir="ltr">The Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation&rsquo;s Bernard Turner said many historians don&rsquo;t want to think about their archeological site.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A lot of people see the sign &lsquo;Camp Douglas&rsquo;, and they have a negative feeling about it,&quot; Turner said. &ldquo;And so what we&rsquo;re trying to do is let everyone know, that is not the only part of the story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Turner is focused on community outreach, which included a partnership with the surrounding public schools.</p><p dir="ltr">They had local third graders sift through the dirt, while seventh graders wrote stories on the findings.</p><p dir="ltr">Turner said one of the biggest problems they had in engaging the community was that young people, particularly of color, don&rsquo;t know the history of their own neighborhoods.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In this particular case, they go to school here and they don&rsquo;t even know what&rsquo;s right under their own noses,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">And right under their noses, is another forgotten part of Camp Douglas&rsquo;s history.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/embed4.jpg" title="(Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" /></div><p dir="ltr">This was one of the few Union camps that received and trained some of the around 180,000 African-American soldiers who fought in the war.</p><p dir="ltr">Turner and Keller highlighted this link because it gave students a sense of pride and connection to their past.</p><p dir="ltr">Keller said the goal is to have the community get a better sense of its own history.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You really are digging a timeline of the community. So, it&rsquo;s just as important for us what we find from the Bronzeville area,&rdquo; Keller said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="226" scrolling="no" src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/ShamelessBestBison" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);" width="402"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size:10px;">Above: Volunteers show the excavation process as they hunt for remains of the Camp Douglas prisoner of war camp.</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr">Southside Resident Sir Cedric Liggens helped with the dig.</p><p dir="ltr">He said people from the community would stop, ask questions, and seemed to take a general interest in what they were doing</p><p dir="ltr">Liggens enjoyed the process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s human record. And It&rsquo;s going back and reviewing your own records,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;What was here, what happened, who was here, who did what. And it&rsquo;s a really good way to learn something from what already happened.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Monday, for the first time in over 150 years, the community raises an official marker commemorating the site.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Corrected Oct. 21: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of African American soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War. The correct number is around 180,000.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Claudia Morell covers business as a WBEZ intern. You can follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/claudiamorell" target="_blank">@claudiamorell</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/digging-history-civil-war-camp-chicagos-south-side-110969 Syria re-elects Assad as civil war continues http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-06-05/syria-re-elects-assad-civil-war-continues-110286 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/barrell bombs hospital_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the midst of civil war, Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad was reelected in an election widely condemned by Western governments. Dr Zaher Sahloul, president of the Syrian American Medical Society, tells us whether he thinks the election will impact the country&#39;s ongoing humanitarian crisis.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-syria-re-elects-assad-as-civil-war-conti/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-syria-re-elects-assad-as-civil-war-conti.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-syria-re-elects-assad-as-civil-war-conti" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Syria re-elects Assad as civil war continues" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-06-05/syria-re-elects-assad-civil-war-continues-110286 The Secrets of Mary Bowser http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/secrets-mary-bowser-107504 <p><div><strong>Lois Leveen</strong>, the Newberry&rsquo;s 2013 Arthur and Lila Weinberg Fellow, discusses the research behind The Secrets of Mary Bowser, her novel based on the true story of a former slave who became a Union spy in the Confederate White House.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dr. Leveen provides insight into the lives of free and enslaved blacks in urban, industrialized Richmond; into the thriving black community in antebellum Philadelphia; and into how blacks and whites worked together in the pro-Union underground that operated in Richmond during the war. The author also explores what it means to teach&mdash;and learn&mdash; African American history through fiction. What happens when ordinary people do extraordinary things?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Award-winning author Lois Leveen earned degrees in history and literature from Harvard, the University of Southern California, and UCLA, and taught at UCLA and at Reed College. She is a regular contributor to Disunion, the New York Times coverage of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TNL-webstory_5.jpg" title="" /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Recorded live on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at the Newberry Library.</div></p> Thu, 23 May 2013 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/secrets-mary-bowser-107504 How Chicago Celebrated the end of the Civil War http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/how-chicago-celebrated-end-civil-war-106526 <p><p>Peace!&nbsp;Victory!&nbsp;My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!&nbsp;</p><p>It was April 1865. After four bloody years, America&rsquo;s Civil War was over.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lee%20surrenders.jpg" title="Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House. (Author's collection)" /></div><p>General Robert E. Lee had surrendered his army in Virginia.&nbsp;There were still some rebel forces fighting in other places.&nbsp;But now that Lee had given up, the rest of the South would surely accept defeat.</p><p>Chicago had&nbsp;been&nbsp;on edge for days, waiting for Lee to capitulate.&nbsp;Then,&nbsp;early on&nbsp;Sunday evening&mdash;April 9&mdash;the joyous tidings flashed over the telegraph.&nbsp;And the city celebrated.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lee%20Surrender.jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 212px; float: right;" title="How Detroit celebrated the news of the war's end. (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>People took to the streets, shouting and firing guns into the air.&nbsp;An impromptu parade started marching down Lake Street.&nbsp;As night fell, bonfires were lit.&nbsp;Straw-filled dummies labeled with the names of rebel leaders were tossed into the fires.&nbsp;Other dummies were hung from trees, where they served as handy targets for&nbsp;revelers flinging horse dung.</p><p>At midnight the hundred guns of the Dearborn Light Artillery boomed.&nbsp;The noise continued through the night and into the dawn.&nbsp;Whether any of the city&rsquo;s 200,000 residents got&nbsp;much sleep was doubtful.</p><p>Monday came.&nbsp;Nobody felt like going to work, and most businesses remained closed.&nbsp;The Court House, the newspaper offices, and other important buildings were decorated with bunting.&nbsp;Street vendors selling tiny American flags on sticks couldn&rsquo;t keep up with the demand. Another night of&nbsp;celebration followed.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Trib%20offices.jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 176px; float: left;" title="Tribune offices (Andreas, 'History of Chicago')" /></div><p>As the sun rose on Tuesday, Chicago finally started getting back to normal.&nbsp;Though the war had not always been popular in the North, the <em>Tribune</em> had supported it whole-heartedly.&nbsp;Publisher Joseph Medill was a leader in the Republican Party and a close friend of President Abraham Lincoln.</p><p>Now that war was over, the <em>Tribune</em> reminded readers that many Democrats had defended the evil of slavery. Those Democrats had thought that compromise was possible. They had urged the North to make peace with the rebels. And as long as the North had fought the war&nbsp;in a half-hearted, &ldquo;Democrat&rdquo; way, the&nbsp;South could not be conquered.</p><p>Then the government had decided to fight in a &ldquo;Republican&rdquo; way: total war.&nbsp;&ldquo;There was no more foolery or conciliation,&rdquo; the paper declared.&nbsp;&ldquo;The war was made on the principles of coercion and subjugation.&rdquo;&nbsp;Victory had followed.</p><p>But Chicago&rsquo;s postwar joy was brief.&nbsp;Before the week was over, President Lincoln was killed by an assassin.</p></p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/how-chicago-celebrated-end-civil-war-106526 UN Human Rights Council urges Sri Lanka to investigate atrocities http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-23/un-human-rights-council-urges-sri-lanka-investigate-atrocities-97568 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-March/2012-03-23/AP12032209561.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war between the Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority left more than 70,000 dead. Both sides committed atrocities, but the final months of the conflict in 2009 were especially brutal. Yesterday, the <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/HRCIndex.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">UN Human Rights Council</a> voted in favor of a U.S.-backed resolution that urges the Sri Lankan government to investigate war crimes committed during the conflict. <em>Worldview </em>talks with <a href="http://www.hrw.org/bios/james-ross" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">James Ross</a>, the policy and legal director for <a href="http://www.hrw.org" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Human Rights Watch</a>, who has been following Sri Lanka’s human rights situation for nearly two decades.</p></p> Fri, 23 Mar 2012 16:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-23/un-human-rights-council-urges-sri-lanka-investigate-atrocities-97568 'Sweet Liberia: Lessons from the Coal Pot' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-16/sweet-liberia-lessons-coal-pot-96472 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-16/Liberia 2.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Susan Peters’ autobiography <em>Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot</em>,&nbsp; tells the story of how Peters' got stranded in Liberia during the Liberian Civil War.&nbsp; The war began in 1989. &nbsp; Peters moved to Liberia because she was disgusted with how African-Americans were treated in the United States. She wrote that she wanted to go to a nation where Africans were in charge.&nbsp; Peters and her family initially remained as civil war loomed, even after the U.S. evacuated most of its citizens.&nbsp; She and her children were stranded as the conflict raged.&nbsp; Months later, they were able to escape to the American Embassy.&nbsp;&nbsp; She tells <em>Worldview</em> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/richard-steele" target="_blank">WBEZ's Richard Steele</a>, what life was like in Liberia.</p></p> Thu, 16 Feb 2012 16:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-16/sweet-liberia-lessons-coal-pot-96472 Chicago film festival offers a view of civil war in Chad http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-13/chicago-film-festival-offers-view-civil-war-chad-95510 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/screaming-man-5_420.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you, like me, have francophile tendencies when it comes to movies then Chicago’s the place to be. Sure they have an amazing movie culture in Paris – you can see<a href="http://%20http://www.google.com/movies?hl=en&amp;near=paris&amp;dq=movie+listings+paris&amp;sort=1&amp;q=movie+listings&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=EUcPT43YNuLksQLw2ezhAw&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0CCIQxQMoAA"> films at all hours of the day</a> in some <a href="http://paris.unlike.net/locations/304514-La-Pagode">amazing theatres</a>.</p><p>And the Franco-American movie alliance (putting aside that whole <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2842493.stm">freedom fries episode</a>) is alive and well – most recently we have Martin Scorsese to thank for putting early French cinema back in theatres with Hugo, his homage to French film pioneer George Méliès.</p><p>But Chicago represents in its signature big shoulders style - the city has a surprising number of festivals dedicated to French cinema.</p><p>There are long-standing series, like <a href="http://www.facets.org/">Facet Cinematheque’s</a> Festival of New French Cinema. The <a href="http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/">Music Box Theatre</a> entered the local French fest scene with last year’s Chicago French Film Festival. This winter the Gene Siskel Film Center is doing a great series on <a href="http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/bresson">Robert Bresson</a>. And the Alliance Française has its<a href="http://www.af-chicago.org/app/Calendar.php?event=&amp;type=43&amp;fname=Cin%E9-club"> Ciné-Club </a>which includes a lot of family-friendly movies aimed at children and teenagers.&nbsp;</p><p>Most involve collaboration with either the local <a href="http://www.consulfrance-chicago.org/spip.php?rubrique2">Consular General </a>or other <a href="http://www.facecouncil.org/tournees/participants.html">cross-cultural organizations</a>, including The Tournees Festival of New French Cinema. That series is currently underway at the University of Chicago’s <a href="http://filmstudiescenter.uchicago.edu/events/upcoming">Film Studies Center</a> – it runs through February 3rd.</p><p>Jerome McDonnell and I talked about <em>A Screaming Man</em>, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s 2010 take on the strains of civil war and global capital on modern day Chad.The film follows the travails of Adam, an amazing portrait by Haroun regular Youssouf Djaoro. Adam not only loses his post as a pool attendant at a posh resort, he's replaced by his son Abdel. The deal with the devil Adam makes to win back his job - and his wounded manhood - has deep repercussions for his family.</p><p>Haroun's film points to the political and spiritual reckoning Chad must undertake in response to its endless and complicated war. But in limiting his view to the life of an ordinary, work-a-day family he raises questions that resonate well beyond the film's specific context.</p></p> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 18:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-13/chicago-film-festival-offers-view-civil-war-chad-95510 Illinois town dedicates the home of a Civil War soldier with a surprising story http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-02/illinois-town-dedicates-home-civil-war-soldier-surprising-story-91451 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-02/Albert Cashier.png" alt="" /><p><p>Of the 900 men who mustered into the <a href="http://civilwar.ilgenweb.net/reg_html/095_reg.html" target="_blank">95<sup>th</sup> Illinois Infantry</a> in 1862, only 153 were still in the regiment by the end of the Civil War. Albert Cashier was one of them. And that’s historic - because Albert was a woman. He was born Jennie Hodgers on Christmas Day of 1843, in Clogher Head, Ireland. A few years ago Linda Paul brought us the story of Jennie Hodgers’ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/jennies-secret-soldiers-story" target="_blank">extraordinary life</a>. Today, she pays a visit to residents in Hodgers' Illinois hometown as they dedicate her post-Civil War house.</p></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 13:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-02/illinois-town-dedicates-home-civil-war-soldier-surprising-story-91451 Civil War flag is on display in Springfield http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-war-flag-display-springfield-87885 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-15/114926648.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A piece of Civil War history has made its way to Springfield.&nbsp;</p><p>An original flag that was carried during Civil War campaigns by a regiment from northern Illinois is on display at the <a href="http://www.state.il.us/hpa/hs/old_capitol.htm">Old State Capitol State Historic Site</a>. It's in&nbsp; observance of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.&nbsp;</p><p>The flag was carried by the 95th Illinois Infantry, which was made up of volunteers from Boone and McHenry counties. The regiment served from 1862 to&nbsp; 1865.&nbsp;</p><p>The flag is on loan from the <a href="http://www.il.ngb.army.mil/Museum/default.htm">Illinois Military Museum at Camp Lincoln</a> in Springfield. The flag's preservation was funded by the <a href="http://boonehistory.org/">Boone County Historical Society</a>&nbsp; and the <a href="http://www.mchenrycivilwar.com/">McHenry County Civil War Round Table</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The flag hangs on the south wall of the rotunda level of the Old State Capitol.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.&nbsp; All Rights Reserved.)</p></p> Wed, 15 Jun 2011 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-war-flag-display-springfield-87885