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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Singing and reading the Civil War's 150th

The Deedle Deedle Dees are, as you might guess, pretty excited about all the stuff being planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. We don't want to be left out of all this fun so we're kicking a massive project on January 1, 2011: a singing and reading club that will last for the next five years. We hope to create an amazing online resource for kids, teachers, history buffs, and anyone who's interested to learn about the Civil War in a new way. Here are some of the things we have planned:

Collecting and singing songs of the Civil War
This has long been an obsession of mine and now I want you all to join me. Send me sheet music, mp3s, videos, etc. I'm going to be putting videos of Civil War tunes on our YouTube channel for you to sing along with, use in your classrooms, etc. Spirituals, soldier songs, parlor ballads...

Reading the lesser-known histories of the war
I want to give special attention to the stories of women, the stories of slaves and free blacks, the stories of new immigrants, and other lesser-told tales. Right now, I'm collecting recommendations and gathering books for grown-up and kid reading lists. Tell me your favorites.

Reading Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy
I've never read the three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative and I think this is the right time. I'm going to start this April and try to sync up my readings to the anniversaries of the events. Do it with me! I'll be tweeting reading assignments (

Reading the entire Bible
An understatement: the Bible was very important to the Civil War generation.

I haven't read the Bible seriously since I was a high school kid in a religious high school. I want to use the occasion of the Civil War's 150th to read it again -- but I need some companionship to help me get through it. Join me. My project for 2011 is the Old Testament. I'll mostly be reading this translation Occasionally I'll switch to the King James with Apocrypha (Lincoln's Bible). I'll probably start a new Twitter feed devoted solely to this project that offers daily reading assignments, links to songs related to the stories, links you send me, and more.

Special Civil War-themed shows. Of course! We'll let you know when they happen? Anybody work at Gettysburg? I'm trying to get a gig there on the big 150th.

We encourage all of you to join us in these projects. Yes, if you participate in all these, you'll often be reading three or more books at a time (Shelby Foote, the Old Testament, another adult history book or novel + whatever Civil War book your kid is reading). But what's wrong with that?

i'd like to know

so here I go...