Photo Gallery | SC State Museum honors veterans with Civil War program
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina State Museum honors veterans this weekend with a trip back 150 years in time.
The museum is offering free admission Saturday, Sunday and Monday to all retired and active military members.
On Saturday, the museum is hosting a special program on the black soldiers who served in the Civil War.
"In South Carolina, it doesn't really get a lot of attention," said JoAnn Zeise, the museum's history curator. "I'd like to bring some attention to their valiant efforts."
Military reenactors representing the Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry will provide demonstrations and mingle with guests. The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry will be shown at 11 a.m. The Academy Award-winning film, Glory, which is based on the Massachusetts 54th's assault on Battery Wagner in Charleston, will be shown at 1 p.m. This summer was the 150th anniversary of the battle on Morris Island, which disproved public opinion that blacks could not be soldiers.
Zeise will lead guests on a special tour of the Civil War exhibit after the film.
"They were brave and faced an extra tough battle, including their white officers," said Zeise. "For example, if you remember in Glory, Shaw is buried with his men and his body is not returned to his family, which is not what you would generally do with officers."
Upon taking control of South Carolina's Port Royal in late 1861, the Union Army formed a regiment of black soldiers, the1st South Carolina. It was the state's first U.S. Army unit in the war. All of South Carolina's white units fought for the Confederacy.
"While the 54th is a great story, it was mostly comprised of freed blacks who were from that area, while the units raised in South Carolina were former slaves from all along the sea cost where the Union was raiding," said Zeise. "These units were made of men who were enslaved and who escaped and gained their freedom, who got their freedom and then joined the Union cause to help fight for freedom for others."
"I think it does a good job of capturing what's going on at that time and the changes that are going on," said Zeise. "Because the North did not start out the war to fight to free slaves."
Zeise says the exhibit's meaning spans 150 years to our veterans today.
"Sometimes we're looking for heroes and I think there are a lot of examples to draw from for heroes and patriotism."
Guests will need to show a valid military I.D. in order to take advantage of free admission this weekend. Military families with valid I.D. will receive $1 off general admission.
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