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Historian Takes Civil War Lessons To Schools

Vermont historian Howard Coffin is a popular speaker on the subject of the Civil War.

Now Coffin is engaging Vermont students on the topic and he says they’re a ready audience.

“I love the basic questions I get from kids that I don’t often get from adults,” he says. "‘Who was the best general?’, ‘why did the north win?’ You can have so much fun with good questions like that. And there’s a lot of questions about slavery.”

So far, Coffin has spoken at schools in Concord, Hartford and Brighton, speaking to classes and assemblies and meeting with students and teachers.

Coffin, who is also a VPR commentator, has authored four books on the Civil War. He says much of his presentation to students centers on Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and it's call for the country live up to the promise of the Declaration of Independence.

"That rings so true today, when discrimination still exists, when there isn’t an equal opportunity in society for people to get ahead,” says Coffin.

Coffin’s talks are funded by the Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation and administered by the Preservation Trust of Vermont.

The talks are being scheduled at schools on a first-come, first-served basis by calling 802-223-1909, or e-mailing hjcoffin@comcast.net.

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