The Civil War at Cumberland Gap

History in a BoxThe Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, in partnership with Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and FamFive Productions, has successfully completed the Educational DVD Project – The Civil War at Cumberland Gap.  The DVD tells the story of three Civil War era individuals: Franklin Jones, an impoverished tenant farmer from near Salyersville in the Eastern Kentucky’s McGoffin County; Jeremiah Dean, a young man from near Gladeville, Wise County in Southwest Virginia, and Samuel, a slave leased by his owner in Greene County, Tennessee, and living and working on property owned by Furney Jones, a well-to-do farmer in Claiborne County, Tennessee. 

The video format provided an opportunity to present a reenactment of the past for present-day students and their teachers so they can easily step back into the past and follow the hardships of Civil War soldiers and their families and observe the dangers faced daily in the lives of slaves.  This opportunity to introduce today’s students and teachers to Jeremiah, Franklin, and Samuel provides a distinct connection to our past.  Students and teachers can surmise – this could have happened to a member of my family 150 years ago.  

Civil War History in a Box image The self-contained unit of study, devoted to telling Civil War stories of hardship and loss, was calculated to meet the needs of social studies and history teachers in their efforts to bring America’s past to life.  The Lesson Plans, following National Core Standards, were prepared by Lincoln Memorial University professors.  Dr. Dennis J. Smith, Assistant Professor of Education, Education Program Coordinator, and Chair of the Education Program at Lincoln Memorial University authored the Middle School segment.  Dr. Sylvia Lynch, well-known author, Associate Professor of Education and former Principal of J. Frank White Academy worked with Mr. Michael Lynch, Adjunct Professor of History at Lincoln Memorial University and Clear Creek Bible College, to prepare the High School segment.  The Classroom exercises were designed to reinforce the idea that what a student thinks, feels, and says is important.

As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the stories of Jeremiah, Franklin and Samuel highlight the hardships and division of the Civil War years and provide a connection with many students’ family histories.  Underneath all the effort – throughout the project -- were the telling goals of providing additional support for teachers and increasing students’ interest in the history of our country.  We are grateful for the opportunity to again work with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.