Civil War history comes alive in Hyde Park

By Yasmine Laasraoui

Photos by Yasmine Laasraoui

Families gathered Sunday, June 23, on the lawn behind the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, for a Civil War reenactment, “A Sight Unlike Any Other: The Civil War and the Colored Soldier.”

The South Side institution transported visitors back to the 19th century, with Civil War-era tents, women in floral gowns and men in army uniforms. Reenactors battled with blank bullets as the audience protected themselves from the day’s heat using paper fans and umbrellas.

The Chicago area has witnessed “few reenactments historically,” according to Pemon Rami, director of educational and public programming at the museum.

Reenactors at different tents detailed for visitors, young and old, the wartime’s medical treatments, food rationing and gruesome amputations — with fake limbs to boot.

Speeches followed musical performances, with actors portraying Frederick Douglass and President Lincoln passionately reading their lines, their voices echoing to all ends of the park.

While the event’s voyage back in time was disjointed by the present food vendors and barbeques, the reenactors’ enthusiasm was both engaging and amusing.