Thursday, November 11, 2010

USCT Grand Review Part 1

(On this day, Veteran's Day, it is most appropriate to talk about one particular group of veterans...)

We had a very interesting weekend this past weekend. In order to fully explain it, I'll need to give you a bit of history over the course of three blog entries, which will help lay the groundwork for making the connection to quilting. Here's the first one.

At the end of the Civil War, Washington wanted to honor its troops for their service in the war with a grand review. However, they made a grave oversight and decided not to extend the invitation to the US Colored Troops (USCT). Yes; in this, our brand new United States, some of us were still not welcome.

(Now, Pennsylvania at least decided to hold a grand review, and they did invite colored troops to the affair, but the governor did not attend.)

So, here we are, at the sesquicentennial (150 year) mark. Pennsylvania decides to hold a sesquicentennial celebration of the grand review, and makes a point to extend to the colored troops the honor that Washington should have extended them a century and a half ago. I will not consider the injustice, irony, etc. of it all; I will simply be grateful for this past weekend. And for the governor's presence this time around. Below, you can see him posing with some of the troops.

And the mayor, too; here she is, being escorted to the podium.

To celebrate the event, on Saturday there was a procession of troops on the streets of the state's capital. There are companies of men across the country who participate in re-enactment events, and were more than happy to travel to Harrisburg in their Union Army garb to honor the men who fought many years ago for the cause of freedom.

Some of the companies consisted of very young men. :) These drummers are in their early teens.

There were also men and women dressed in "civilian" attire of the time, who represented certain characters in history. For example, one woman was Harriet Jacobs. If you walked up to any of the actors, they would, in character, explain who they were, and what part they played in history.

It was hard not to be moved by the events of the weekend. It was amazing.

Part 2--an art quilter (or quilt artist?)


  1. I can't wait for the rest of the story...

  2. It must have been anamazing experience to actually get to talk to some of these historical "characters"

  3. I have often thought of the civil war and what a giant upheaval that time was. Ari and I went through a period where we read several books about that time, one of our favorites was The Diary of Clotee by Patrick McKissack (part of the Dear America series). Seeing the men and ladies in period dress and the occasion in your post is quite stirring.

  4. The Diary of Clotee was written by Patricia McKissack, not Patrick. Scholastic had somehow changed the author's name/gender on their site - leaving me wondering all day because I thought I remembered the author was a woman! The Diary of Clotee honestly depicts the horrors of that time, but despite the tough content we immediately felt a strong attachment to Clotee and were moved by her strength of character.


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