HARRISBURG, PA -- As the nation prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Pennsylvania invites travelers to Harrisburg, Nov. 4-7, to participate in a story unknown to most Americans: the Pennsylvania Grand Review.
The Pennsylvania Grand Review is a year-long commemoration of the November 1865 event of the same name. It was originally organized by citizens of Pennsylvania's capital city to honor the United States Colored Troops from 25 states who had been excluded from the Grand Review of the Armies, a military procession held earlier that year in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the end of the Civil War.
"Pennsylvania was the only state to hold such an event after the Civil War, and yet this defining moment was nearly lost in the passage of time," said Mickey Rowley, Department of Community and Economic Development deputy secretary for tourism. "Once again, Pennsylvania will honor the United States Colored Troops by inviting descendants and those who would like to learn more about them to convene in Harrisburg for a grand commemoration fitting of their honorable service and dedication to preserving this nation."
The Pennsylvania Grand Review culminates Nov. 4 -7 in a weekend of celebration, heritage and living history in downtownHarrisburg with a commemorative procession. The event will feature the stories of 100 African-American soldiers, color guards, and regiments from various states, community and historical groups and descendant families.
"In addition to the commemorations, visitors can expand their experience by visiting the National Civil War Museum, State Museum, PA National Fire Museum, and have the opportunity to view the commonwealth's collection of more than 400 Civil War battle flags," Rowley said. "We also hope that visitors from other states will extend their stay and explore the Dutch Country Roads region that includes Gettysburg, Lancaster, and Hershey – all just a short drive from Harrisburg."
The Grand Review has attracted national attention as regiments from several states, including North Carolina, New York,Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, will join the ranks. The White Carnation League, an alliance of United States Colored Troops descendants, scholars and supporters, also worked with leading genealogists to help families across the nation research and make connections between family histories. Descendants of troops are traveling to Harrisburg from as far as California, Nevada, Wisconsin and Missouri.
The Pennsylvania Grand Review was created in partnership with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Amtrak, Appalachian Regional Commission, PA Dutch Country Roads, Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, Sen. John Heinz History Center, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Concerned Black Men of PA, Partnership for Sacred Spaces, Institute for Cultural Partnerships, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania Civil War 150 Consortium, Historical Society of Dauphin County, Dauphin County Parks and Recreation, Jump Street Inc., Harrisburg 150, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Center for Northern Appalachian Studies.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under DCED, is dedicated to inspiring travel to the State of Independence. For more information, go to visitPA.com or call (800) VISIT PA; become a fan at facebook.com/visitPA, follow us at twitter.com/visitPA, friend us at foursquare.com/visitPA, share photos at flickr.com/visitPA, or watch us on youtube.com/visitPA. For a free subscription to Pursuits Magazine, go to visitPA.com/pursuits.
The schedule of Grand Review events (all in Harrisburg) follows:
8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m., Nov. 6, Forum Building, South Drive and Commonwealth Ave. The ceremony will include remarks fromHarrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson, as well as Dr. Howard Dodson, Schomburg Library & Museum; William Gladstone, author of "Men of Color," the James Porter Experience presentation and performances by the Bethel AME Quartet, Mechanicsburg; Harrisburg High School Marching Band, and the Pennsylvania Past Players.
Grand Review Procession
9 a.m. – Noon, Nov. 6, Downtown Harrisburg
The procession begins at the Forum Building, South Drive and Commonwealth Ave., and includes reviewing stops at Third and Walnut streets, and at the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion, 219 S. Front St. It concludes with a ceremony on the steps of the State Capitol Building, Third and State streets.
Chautauqua & Heritage Fair
1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North St.
Visitors are invited to learn more about the United States Colored Troops through genealogy workshops, living history interpreters, and lectures. Special presentations include Calobe Jackson portraying Thomas Morris Chester in a dialogue, "Civil War to Civil Rights," William Gladstone and Bob O'Conner will moderate a discussion about USCT soldiers at Camp William Penn; field songs, spirituals, and storytelling from the Stevenson Twins; Larry Keener and the Victorian Dance Ensemble will present, "A 19th Century Dance Card," and Millicent Sparks will perform as Harriet Tubman.
United States Colored Troops and the Harrisburg Grand Review Exhibit
11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, Oct. 15 – Dec. 11, 213 Market St.
The exhibit will feature the Civil War muster rolls of the United States Colored Troops from Pennsylvania and related items will be on display in the 2010 History Center,