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Baker Introduces Bill for Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War

Location: Washington, DC

Baker introduces bill for sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War

U.S. Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge, today introduced legislation creating a commission for the Sesquicentennial (150th) commemoration of the Civil War. Joining Baker in sponsoring the bill were Louisiana House colleagues Reps. Jim McCrery, Rodney Alexander, Charles Boustany, Bobby Jindal and Charlie Melancon, as well as two members from the Virginia delegation, Reps. Frank Wolf and Todd Russell Platts in sponsoring the bill.

In 1996, Congress designated the United States Civil War Center (USCWC) at Louisiana State University (LSU) and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College as co-facilitators of the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War to be held between 2011and 2015. This legislation represents the next step to prepare for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

"This legislation is not only important for Louisiana, but for the nation as a whole, as the ripple effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction remain and our country continues to wrestle with its legacy of race relations and federal, state and civil rights," Baker said upon introducing the bill. "In order to properly commemorate this pivotal American event, I believe it is imperative to create a Sesquicentennial, or 150th, Commission for the Commemoration of the Civil War."

The American Civil War (1861 - 1865) was one of the most violent times in the history of the United States, touching not only every state and territory, but claiming more than 600,000 lives, bringing freedom to over 4 million slaves and destroying property valued at $5 billion. In 1993, the USCWC was created to promote the study of the American Civil War from the perspectives of all professions, occupations, and academic disciplines in order to facilitate a deeper, more thorough understanding of one of the most important events in our nation's history. This mission is fulfilled through a variety of projects, including an official web site featuring over 9,000 links to Civil War-related sites, the Michael Shaara Award for Civil War Fiction, Civil War Book Review, the Michael Lehman Williamson Collection of Civil War Books for Young People, the David Madden Collection of Civil War Fiction, and the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War.

The commission will include members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, directors of the Library of Congress and National Archives, and academics in history, anthropology, sociology, political science, art history and law.

"I fully support the objectives and services the USCWC provides and hope they are fully utilized by inclusion in the commission," said Baker. "I believe the USCWC will strengthen the commission, and aid to its goal of providing the direction and resources needed for the proper Sesquicentennial Commemorations of the Civil War throughout this nation."

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