As part of the park’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of the war, rangers are focusing on how much social change has taken place in the U.S. over the past 150 years.
“The Civil War was the nation’s first big social change,” said Park Ranger Benita Duling, who is heading up a project to highlight social change. “The war gave citizenship to people who weren’t considered to be people.”
Duling is asking the public to submit stories about their own experiences with social change over the last 150 years in Cobb County. The stories can be about family members or friends, she said.
The focus of the project is to bring attention to the positive shifts people have made, Duling said.
The park rangers will collect stories, archive them all and choose 150 to showcase during the 150 days leading up to June 27, 2014. The chosen stories will appear online, one per day, for 150 days. Each story will include biographies of the people involved.
“We’re not looking to relive sins of our past or relive prejudices against race or religion or gender,” Duling said. “We’re looking to get beyond that and see how much we’ve grown and make people feel good about humanity — especially changes within our area.”
Stories should include themes such as Native Americans, women’s rights or civil rights, Duling said.
“We want to hear about how humanity has become tolerant over the last 150 years,” she said.
Duling plans to add an educational component to the project and interview professors or specialists on social issues, record the interviews and broadcast them on the same website as the 150 stories. The park rangers will also be working with local schools to provide a teacher’s guide to introduce the idea of social change in an age-appropriate way, Duling said.
“They can look at their own families and how far they’ve come and explore their own backgrounds,” she said.
Students will also have a social change tree with the Civil War as the root and branches showing dates and events that led to change.
Other projects commemorating the 150th anniversary include speaker presentations at the park, speeches from officials in park services, living history displays and a parade.