On a sunny late April day, nearly one hundred members of Adams County’s growing Latino community explored the Gettysburg battlefield with CWI director Pete Carmichael and Gettysburg National Military Park Education Specialist Barbara Sanders. Sponsored by CWI, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Gettysburg College’s Center for Public Service, this special tour included a focus on farm life in the Civil War era at the Slyder Family Farm, where participants had the opportunity to learn about day to day existence on a 19th century subsistence farm, and explore the impact of the battle on both soldiers and civilians. CWI Director Pete Carmichael spoke with the group about the experiences of the “common soldier,” using material culture such as a reproduction musket and cartridge box to help connect attendees with people from the past. Touching a recently-cut witness tree on the property was a highlight of the trip for many participants!
After the trip to the Slyder Farm, the group visited the 20th Maine monument, where Sanders and Carmichael demonstrated troop movements through placing the children down the hill in the position of the 15th Alabama and the adults on top on the group occupied by the 20th Maine. The group wrapped up the day by examining pictures of the dead from the Rose Farm and discussing the meaning of sacrifice.
Volunteer interpreters from the community translated between English and Spanish, so that all could participate fully in the conversation. Many of the program participants were families affiliated with Casa de la Cultura, a local program promoting the cultural rights of immigrant communities on local, regional, and global levels through community activities and collaboration with governmental, academic and community partners. Case de la Cultura strives to create a space for all people to explore the arts and healthy living, emphasizing Latino culture through education and reflection.