More than 6,000 people from around the world are expected to attend the four-day events surrounding the 2015 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event, “Reconstruction Tennessee,” April 30-May 1 in Knoxville.

American Bus Association’s Top 100 Selection Committee named the 2015 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event and the Blue & Gray Reunion and Freedom Jubilee as one of the best events to experience in 2015.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Caroline E. Janney, professor of history at Purdue University April 30 at The Bijou Theatre. Janney’s book, “Remembering the Civil War,” examines how the war generation crafted and protected memories of the nation’s greatest conflict. A special music performance by the internationally-acclaimed Fisk Jubilee Singers will also take place.

The opening ceremony will take place May 1 at the Knoxville Convention Center featuring music and remarks by Tennessee State Historian, Carroll Van West and Renee Kessler, executive director of Beck Cultural Exchange Center.

Discussions by Civil War experts on “Reconstruction Tennessee” and book signings will feature Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society; Bobby L. Lovett, professor emeritus of Tennessee State University; Luke Harlow, professor of the history department at The University of Tennessee Knoxville; and Tracy McKenzie, professor of history and department chair of Wheaton College.

Other Sesquicentennial events include “Teaching Primary Sources from the Library of Congress,” a workshop open to K-12 educators, sponsored by the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Center for Historic Preservation, April 30 at the East Tennessee Historical Society; and “Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee,” sponsored by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Tennessee State Museum, and Tennessee Wars Commission, April 30-May 1 at the East Tennessee Historical Society.

The Knox County Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and the East Tennessee Historical Society will separately host the Blue & Gray Reunion and Freedom Jubilee which will include a variety of activities like a Blue & Gray dinner, tours of Civil War forts, 1st United States Colored Heavy Artillery Civil War history, historic speech reenactments, a Civil War Exposition, a “Peace Jubilee,” which will recognize descendants and reunite former Unionists and Confederates as one nation, fireworks, and much more.

The signature event is jointly sponsored by the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Tennessee Historical Society, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Knox County Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, East Tennessee Historical Society and Visit Knoxville.

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