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Civil War anniversary festivities planned amid cuts, controversy

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ATLANTA --- Despite budget cuts and the potential for controversy, the state continues its long planning process for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

"We certainly can't wait until January 2011 to start working," said Charlie Gatlin, the deputy commissioner of tourism of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

A team of historians is working with state officials to coordinate events and a list of sites across the state for education, understanding and the chance to make money on tourists.

At the same time, the NAACP worries the four-year observance could be used by some to glorify racist aspects of the Old South.

"We're certainly not celebrating the Civil War anniversary," said Edward DuBose, the president of the State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "We see the Civil War and the Confederate States here as a dark spot on the history of Georgia."

NAACP members have pushed in the past two legislative sessions for an official apology for slavery, including the state government's own holding of slaves. They objected to Gov. Sonny Perdue's signing this week of legislation to make April Confederate History and Heritage Month.

But the committee is aiming for a balanced approach, according to Mr. Gatlin. The committee includes two prominent blacks: Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus and Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, an author of two histories of that era.

Mr. Thurmond wants the anniversary to illustrate blacks' quest for freedom whether they were in the North or the South, and he wants to dispel myths.

"We need to debunk the notion that all white Southerners supported slavery. They didn't," he said, noting the frequent letters to papers such as the Savannah Morning News by well-respected whites who were opposed to slavery.

"We make a mistake not to engage in research and even debate and discussion about it," he said.

Controversy might not be the only thing threatening to derail the state's efforts. The state's budget cutting has also had an effect.

Mr. Perdue has until May 13 to sign the budget or use his line-item veto to eliminate appropriations passed last month by the Legislature. He had recommended the General Assembly make deep cuts in funding for the Georgia Historical Society's effort to upgrade historical markers and for the Civil War Commission.

Legislators opted to put some funding in those projects, but he could still remove them.

Mr. Gatlin said the budget cuts will simply force some prioritization about what to promote. So far, the plans include a book on significant sites, maps for driving tours and a list of special events such as battle reenactments.

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Jasbir15
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Jasbir15 05/01/09 - 10:39 am
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This is a wonderful

This is a wonderful celebration. Let us never forget who we are and where we come from. God bless Dixie!

GuyIncognito
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GuyIncognito 05/01/09 - 12:01 pm
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What a waste of money. What

What a waste of money. What a truly unamerican celebration. Why should we honor a group of people giving up on our country, turning to violence, failing at their attempt to secede, and crippling their states economically for decades after that. And all in the name of a pre-civil war Southern economy that required slavery to be profitable. Georgians should be ashamed of that part of our history, not celebrating it.

usafveteran
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usafveteran 05/01/09 - 03:05 pm
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I know...GuyInCognito...those

I know...GuyInCognito...those American rebels...seceding from Great Britain...destroying peace and security from the greatest country in the world and wanting independence. Why they are causing the economy to be in shambles and the land to be in ruin when they can happily submit to the King's rule? Why the King has even told the slaves that they will be free if only they remain loyal to the Crown! Shouldn't they be ashamed?

confederatelady319
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confederatelady319 05/01/09 - 03:48 pm
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man our confederate

man our confederate holiday,and now a legal confederate history month in (april ) and a big old georgia confederate party in 2011 its going to be a blast.ya'll come now you hear.i'm so proud to be born in dixie were real men and women still live.in dixie land i'll take my stand to live and die in dixie.

drumbeater1
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drumbeater1 05/01/09 - 04:13 pm
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guyincognito.....stay that

guyincognito.....stay that way.......

drumbeater1
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drumbeater1 05/01/09 - 04:17 pm
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well folks, we might even get

well folks, we might even get to here the georgia redcoat band play "dixie" once again without fear of being put upon by black racists

drumbeater1
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drumbeater1 05/01/09 - 04:19 pm
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dbs319...yeeeee-hawwwww! as

dbs319...yeeeee-hawwwww!
as stone wall jackson,one of the greatest military leaders used to say,"the bayonet,sir, give them the bayonet !"

confederatelady319
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confederatelady319 05/01/09 - 05:47 pm
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drumbeater1-stonewall also

drumbeater1-stonewall also said we must show them the black flag,general stewart,the black flag

confederatelady319
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confederatelady319 05/01/09 - 06:41 pm
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guylncoqnite-since you are

guylncoqnite-since you are ignorant of our history,being the southern gentleman that i am,i would be glad to show you and yours the way out of the south.please feel free to call upon me as soon as you are ready to depart.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/01/09 - 07:19 pm
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Sure, let's celebrate how

Sure, let's celebrate how Abraham Lincoln completely ignored the Constitution and how he pursued a policy of complete humiliation and annihilation of the South. If you ever really want to examine the War, the Siege of Vicksburg is hard to match for atrocities. It must have given him great pleasure to force old men, women, and children to live in caves for months, suffering from great deprivation and starvation. Yep, those old men, women, and children were a great threat to the North.

confederatelady319
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confederatelady319 05/01/09 - 07:34 pm
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corqimon-all that they know

corqimon-all that they know about our southern history came out of a yankee history books in our government schools.

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