Up & Coming Weekly

May 31, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 12 of 28

12 UCW JUNE 1 - 7, 2022 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM New Civil War & Reconstruction History Center will offer education through powerful stories by EMILY SUSSMAN and JASON BRADY COVER STORY e reality that Fayetteville and the state of North Carolina will soon have a world-class history education facility nestled atop the city's historic Arsenal Avenue is becoming more concrete as the civic organization behind the effort will hold its third and final ground-breaking ceremony on June 2. A panel of Civil War & Recon- struction History Center Board members assembled on May 24 at Fayetteville Technical Community College's Tony Rand Center to speak with members of the media about the Civil War & Reconstruc- tion History Center, its purpose and curriculum and the upcoming ground-breaking. Mac Healy, chairman of the Civil War & Reconstruction History Center committee, was flanked by Vice-Chairwoman Mary Lynn Bryan, a noted Fayetteville phi- lanthropist who since 2006 has advocated for the center; Board Member and former Fayetteville State University Chancellor James Anderson, and Board Member Demetrius Haddock, a life-long educator, retired math teacher and education advocate. e panel had much to say about the format and purpose of the center, which will serve not only the local community but the state. e center, while located in Fayetteville, will be a state-run fa- cility. e representatives repeat- edly spoke to the power of story and the importance of creating a dialogue centering around the difficult subjects of the civil war, enslavement and the post-civil war reconstruction. Haddock, who was initially skeptical of the center's curricu- lum, has since become a mem- ber of the board and assists in planning for the center. He has been focused on supporting the educational components, specifi- cally concerning students in the 4th, 8th, and 11th grades study- ing North Carolina history under the state's school curriculum. He explained at a recent meet- ing focused on curriculum at the University of North Carolina ¬Wilmington that many teach- ers were unaware of and cautious about how to present much of the difficult content that the center will focus on. "ose concepts, especially enslavement and just the idea of people owning human beings and you know how do you have a con- versation with students about that, and there are so many dimen- sions around that time period that people just kind of stay away from, especially the Reconstruction or afterwards, "said Haddock. Despite the committee's efforts raising private funds, securing state and local money for the project, and, more importantly, educating the public about the project, there has been concern the center will be a museum hon- oring the Confederacy. Anderson reiterated that the center would focus on the history before the Civil War and the Re- construction era, which was often a difficult period for formerly enslaved people. Anderson explained that the board of advisors and the board of directors working to build the center and its curriculum are both "replete with scholars." "e History Center is not a mu- seum. I want to make that clear," Anderson said. "It will use the power of storytelling and interac- tive technology to educate youth about that specific time in histo- ry," he said. "ose who constantly demonize the proposed project are ignorant of the facts." Bryan invited anyone concerned about the center's purpose to en- gage with the committee. "Every time we have been challenged, if the people who challenge us will meet us, we are willing to sit down and talk about our plan and what we have in mind and why it is significant not just for our community but for our state," Bryan said. "e story we have to tell about this very, very difficult period in our history is a true story. It's a story based on fact developed by a group of scholars known world- wide. ey want to present an accurate picture, and so do we," she said. Bryan reiterated the museum's purpose and asserted the center would not focus solely on the story of the Confederacy. "It's very disconcerting when we hear, for example, that we are going to develop a Confederate museum, which we have no inten- tion whatsoever of doing. e flags that will fly, if flags fly in our Above: Board members of the Civil War & Reconstruction History Center spoke to media May 24 about the Center's purpose and progress. On June 2, the Center's third and final ground-breaking ceremony will be held. (Photo by Jason Brady) Below: Concept renderings of the Center are pro- vided courtesy of the Civil War & Reconstruction History Center.

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