Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

June 2010

Oklahoma Chautauqua Brings “Tale of Two Americas” to OSU-Tulsa

 

Chautauqua
Scholars (left to right) Dr. Doug Mishler, Joseph Bundy, Karen Vuranch, Dr. William Worley and Dr. Ted Kachel portrayed famous historical figures of the Civil War during the 2010 Oklahoma Chautauqua.

This year’s Oklahoma Chautauqua explored the injuries that the Civil War left on the nation and its people. “The Wounds of War: A Tale of Two Americas” was presented June 8-12 at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa.

Appearing in costume, scholars recounted stories in the character's own words and in the language of their time. A question-and-answer session both in and out of character followed each performance. The 19th annual event was presented by the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa.

Scholars performing in this year’s living history program portrayed Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, two of the most famous and celebrated generals in American history; William Seward, a well-known political figure and the U.S. secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson; Major Martin Delany, an African-American abolitionist and the first African-American field officer in the U.S. Army during the Civil War; and Clara Barton, a teacher, battlefield nurse and organizer of the American Red Cross.

“These characters are historical figures who were wounded in body, mind and spirit by this great divide in the nation,” said Ken Busby, executive director of the council. “These wounds were felt personally, politically and professionally. Yet, with incredible determination, resolve and spirit, these heroes overcame the most difficult circumstances of war to propel themselves to new heights for the benefit of all citizens.”

Daily workshops provided additional information on each historical figure. Local musicians also provided entertainment each night at prior to the evening performances.

The first chautauqua was held in the 1870s at New York’s Lake Chautauqua, originally a camp for Sunday school teachers. In the early 20th century, chautauqua was a tent show traveling along a circuit in the midwestern United States that presented a stage for contemporary culture, political oratory and discussion of modern social issues. The modern chautauqua movement began during the American bicentennial, as a tent revival for humanities and as an entertaining means to provoke discussion of American history.

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