With sesquicentennial of Civil War coming, South Carolina begins planning

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Historians, museum directors and state officials are starting to tackle a topic as sensitive as it is significant: what South Carolina should do to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Rodger Stroup, director of the S.C. Department of Archives and History, met with some of them Tuesday after realizing only a few years remain until the first sesquicentennial milestone: the contentious Democratic convention in Charleston in April 1860.

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War's beginning, the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, will be April 12, 2011. "We really need to try to get a handle on what's going on," Stroup said. "One of the things that will come out of this is increased tourism. Let's face it. It started here."

During the centennial anniversary in the 1960s, many viewed the war solely through a military or political lens. Marion Edmonds, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said that since then, historians have written much more about how blacks and women contributed during the war.

"We now know so much more about the cultures within our state," Edmonds said. "It's not just a simple view anymore. We also now know the differences between what was happening in the Lowcountry and in the Upstate."

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Keith B Hunter - 1/31/2010

Will there be any celebrations/activities in Charleston or Fort Sumter related to the sesquicentennial of Civil War? Stephen Dill Lee was my great great uncle and I would be interested in visiting Charleston again while sesquicentennial activities are being held in the area.