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Press Release

Contact: 1LT Vincent Solomeno, (732) 974-5966

Lunchtime Lecture Series: New Jersey and the Politics of the Civil War

TRENTON – On Thursday, May 19, the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey’s Trenton War Memorial Annex will host a noontime lecture by Assistant Curator Joseph G. Bilby presenting untold and long-forgotten stories of New Jerseyans and how they coped with the Civil War and its memory.

“The arrival of the Civil War Sesquicentennial [150th anniversary of the conflict] provides Garden State residents with an excellent opportunity to learn more about our state’s contribution to the Union war effort,” said Mr. Bilby, the author or editor of fourteen books on New Jersey history.  “Especially with regard to the politics of the day, there is a treasure trove of interesting people and stories that left their mark on our history.”

Mr. Bilby will discuss, with slide illustrations, the stories of African-American communities in South Jersey that fought off slave catchers before the war.  He will tell the story of the “Hoboken Bounty Jumper Sting” in which the Jersey City mayor lost the city’s money but won re-election anyway.  And in homage to attention seekers both past and present, he will discuss General Judson Kilpatrick’s politically inspired “Great Reunion,” one of the first postwar reenactments that more closely resembled a three ring circus.  Highlighting the long struggle for equality, Mr. Bilby will also offer a history of the New Jersey Civil War Centennial Commission’s principled stand against racism in 1961.

“Most everyone remembers the Gettysburg Address, Sherman’s March, and the Emancipation Proclamation,” said First Lieutenant Vincent Solomeno, Historian of the New Jersey National Guard and the museum’s curator.  “The goal of this lecture is to increase public awareness of the sometimes consequential, often times humorous, history of New Jersey politics in the Civil War era.”

“New Jersey and the Politics of the Civil War” is the first of a series of lunchtime lectures highlighting the people, places, and events that shaped New Jersey’s Civil War experience.   It will be held at 12:00PM, on Thursday, May 19, at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey’s Trenton War Memorial Annex.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch.  Coffee and tea will be provided.

For more information, please visit http://www.nj.gov/military/museum/

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