Newswise — Free admission to almost 30 historic sites, plus guided walking tours, historical talks and free transportation between locations highlight Richmond’s 4th annual commemoration of Civil War and Emancipation Day, April 6 at a variety of locations around the city.
Canal boat rides, cannon firings and children’s games teaching about the war and the emancipation of millions of people will provide inspiring activities for individuals and entire families delving into Richmond’s pivotal role in American history.
Civil War scholars will lead discussions and tours, complemented by musical performances, children’s military-style drilling demonstrations and special museum exhibits. Visitors also will have the opportunity to see such attractions as the Museum of the Confederacy, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Virginia State Capitol, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, as well as the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and Lumpkin’s Jail site. Discussions, performances, tours and walks are free.
An optional Civil War Sampler bus tour is offered at a cost of $25 a person. Departing from the Valentine Richmond History Center at 1 p.m., the four-hour guided bus tour will provide a comprehensive look at the unique role Richmond played as the capital of the Confederacy, taking visitors to see Church Hill, Shockoe Bottom, Court End, the canal area, Hollywood Cemetery, Monument Avenue and the battlefields at Gaines Mill and Cold Harbor. Advance online reservations are required by calling 804-649-0711, ext. 301.
“Civil War and Emancipation Day has become a Richmond tradition, sharing the city's history broadly and freely,”said Ed Ayers, chair of The Future of Richmond’s Past steering committee, award-winning historian of the American South and University of Richmond president. “Remarkable effort has gone into putting together the exciting walking tours and programs offered this year.”
Other events and special programs will include: a walking tour of historic Jackson Ward; presentations about Virginia’s State Capitol, which also served as capitol of the Confederate States of America; author Lois Leveen recounting the secrets of freed slave and Union spy Mary Bowser; and narrated river tours offering splendid views of Richmond from the River District canal boats.
Visitors also will have the chance to retrace the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln’s famous 1865 walk through the streets of Richmond, visualizing the remarkable development of business, entertainment, churches and cultural institutions during the 19th century; and learn about the Bread Riots that caused thousands of starving Richmonders to plunder local shops and bakeries in April 1863.
There will be two opportunities to see Richmond’s 1.5- mile Slave Trail, a guided walk at 9:30 a.m. and an evening torch-lit tour at 7 p.m.
Civil War and Emancipation Day is organized by The Future of Richmond’s Past, a collaborative effort among leaders of Richmond’s historical societies, museums, commissions, cultural and tourism organizations, and educational institutions to interpret the life of Richmond during the 150th commemoration.
The full day of activities and events is made possible by the generous support of Mead Westvaco, SunTrust Bank, The Community Foundation of Richmond, Dominion, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, McGuire Woods LLC, James E. Ukrop, UPS Foundation, University of Richmond, Venture Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Union University.
For detailed information about Civil War and Emancipation Day, visit civilwar.emancipationday.net/about.html or call Carolyn Martin at 804-289-8088.