by Henry Bryant
April 12 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the War Between the States
Why should we remember the Civil War and the part of it that was fought here in Southeast Atlanta?
One of the reasons for the neighborhood (the city) and its people to remember and realize its history is economics. People from around the world come here looking for that story and the meaning it might have for them. The color of money is not blue or gray or black or white. Our people should be enabled to gain financially from the story that took place here. If we do not talk about it, that can not happen. More importantly, it is critical to remember and retell the story because it is ours, even if it is painful. We must do that to claim it as ours or it can be taken away from us.
Not all of our history should be celebrated, but we should remember and retell it. Without remembering our history there can be no redemption or reconciliation. We become doomed. The history lies beneath the surface to become hurtful in personal and private ways and in individual lives. Destructive feelings and behaviors bubble up and become manifest in public conflict, policy and unhealthy civic and national actions. The past is past, but it is for the future that we should remember and understand it.
The BATL organizing committee has been meeting since before Christmas to plan for this year's BATL event on July 16. It is the 147th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta. BATL is currently searching for sponsors who through their donations make it possible to offer so many educational and entertaining programs free of charge to the public. BATL is currently scheduling this year's programs and has some needs right now in the area of fundraising and public relations, but mostly they need help on the Saturday of the event (July 16).
For example, the organizing committee seeks volunteers (aspiring actors) to portray individuals from our Civil War to Civil Rights history in a unique living history program in the East Atlanta Village. The committee also is looking for volunteers to staff its headquarters, providing information and assistance to our visitors as well as selling tickets and merchandise. BATL also still needs people at the various venues to act as hosts for the programs and other individuals who can act as runners between the venues to troubleshoot and keep things running smoothly.
Henry Bryant is a longtime East Atlanta Village resident and local expert on the Battle of Atlanta, which was fought in Southeast Atlanta 147 years ago, resulting in the death of 12,000 Confederate and Union soldiers. Bryant is chairman of the BATL organization, which commemorates the Battle of Atlanta.