Adams State's history professors and Santa Fe teachers explore the past

(07-15-2009)

Adams State College history professors and Santa Fe teachers gather to walk Pickett's Charge, with noted Civil War historian, Gary Gallagher, center back row.

Adams State College history professors Dr. Rich Loosbrock and Dr. Ed Crowther conducted a two-pronged, two-week long history seminar with public school teachers from Santa Fe, N.M., as part of an on-going Teaching American History Grant, beginning June 15 and ending on June 30.

Prong one consisted of a week long intensive workshop on the Civil War and Reconstruction held in Santa Fe. Participants explored Civil War causation, military, political and social history of the war itself, and the painful years of Reconstruction through lecture and primary source documents. "While the United States clearly prevailed militarily and preserved the Union by winning the war," noted Crowther, "the white south prevailed in maintaining white supremacy and cheap labor during Reconstruction. The legacy of Reconstruction persists down to today." Participants earned graduate credit for successful participation in the workshop.

Participants then joined Loosbrock and Crowther in Washington, D. C., and the surrounding area, for a second week of study. Highlights included exploration of public memorials along the national mall, a visit to the United States Capitol, the National Archives, and the Museum of American History. "Everybody loves history," opined Loosbrock, "but they become aware of that fascination when they tour historic sites." Traci Akers, a long-time teacher, said, "I've gathered so much that I can share with my students to help them appreciate and understand U. S. History."

Battlefield tours of Antietam and Gettysburg conducted by Professor Gary W. Gallagher (ASC '72) of the University of Virginia, a noted expert on the Civil War military history, and historian and professor Joan Waugh of U. C. L. A., provided an in-depth understanding of two critical Civil War battles. "Lincoln said that the military events were the key to the war's outcome," said Gallagher. "Whether the United States would emerge as single country without slavery was decided on the battlefield."

During the upcoming academic year, Loosbrock and Crowther will continue this grant work by offering a series of day-long workshops for teachers in Santa Fe, covering the Gilded Age, World War II, and recent United States History.