Civil War history comes alive in Hyde Park


By Yasmine Laasraoui

Families gathered Sunday on the Washington Park lawn behind the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, for the Civil War Reenactment, “A Sight Unlike Any Other: The Civil War and the Colored Soldier. “ The Chicago area has witnessed “few reenactments historically,” cites Pemon Rami, the director of educational and public programming at the museum.

The South Side hosted the event by transporting visitors back to the 19th century. The park was filled with Civil War-era tents, women in floral gowns and men in army uniforms. Re-enactors battled with blank bullets as the audience protected themselves from the day’s heat with paper fans and umbrellas.

The event provided families with an afternoon-long event, offering the museum’s exhibitions free to the public in addition to a variety of other activities and performances.

Re-enactors at different tents explained to visitors, both young and old, about the wartime’s medical treatments, gruesome amputations (fake limbs provided) and food rationing.

Musical performances were followed by speeches. Re-enactors portraying Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln passionately read their lines, their voices echoing to all ends of the park.

While the authenticity of the event’s “time travel” may have been slightly disjointed by the food vendors and barbeques, the enthusiasm portrayed on behalf of the re-enactors was both engaging and amusing.