Coming to PBS in November: “The Michigan Experience: The American Civil War Years”

Coming to your local PBS station this month is “The Michigan Experience: The American Civil War Years”, a Michigan-based production from Executive Producers Rodney W. Brown, Leon Collins, and Donna Ullrich and iMichigan Productions (iMp) in East Lansing. As the descendant of two Michigan Civil War soldiers, I am thrilled that this statewide broadcast will provide a unique and timely opportunity to remember the sacrifices of the 90,000 Michiganders who answered their nation’s call during the years 1861 to 1865 — as well as the monumental contributions of those who remained at home.

The Michigan Experience American Civil War Years

As described on the iMichigan Productions website, this television event is “told by Michigan voices, written by Michigan authors, interpreted by Michigan living historians, and portrayed by Michigan Civil War reenactors”. Among the talented individuals breathing life into the stories of Michigan’s Civil War-era personalities is my friend and living historian Dave Tennies, who skillfully portrays Michigan Senator Jacob Howard, best remembered for writing and initiating the 13th amendment to the US Constitution to abolish slavery.

This four-part public television series is timely in that it coincides with the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial and the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861. But it is equally so in that it comes at a time when many citizens of the Great Lakes State have suffered deeply. “The Michigan Experience: The American Civil War Years” series not only honors our ancestors, it also reminds us of our strength and tenacity in times of great turmoil. The series:

  • Shares the experiences of Michigan’s people on the eve of war,
  • Analyzes Washington’s military and political leadership and its implications for Michigan.
  • Examines Michigan’s contributions and their effects on the outcome of our nation’s bloodiest conflict.
  • Investigates the character of the Civil War and its effect on Michigan and American society.
  • Brings to life the stories of Michigan’s soldiers, leaders, and citizens of the time.
  • Explores the role of blacks during the war, including the soldiers of the Michigan-based 102nd Regiment.

“The Michigan Experience: The American Civil War Years” airs on every Michigan PBS station in November, including Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2011. Please visit the iMichigan Productions website for a schedule of stations, airdates and times.

As the Civil War constitutes a grave and pivotal point not only in our national history but that of Michigan as well, the story of Michigan’s involvement is a story that needs and merits greater exploration and understanding. This documentary series will examine Michigan’s role in the Civil War and provide a better understanding of the significant role and impact that Michigan’s involvement had. Michigan sent 90,000 men to fight in the Civil War including specialized regiments of sharpshooters and engineers, and more cavalry per capita than any other northern state. At least 68 Michigan soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry on the battlefield during the Civil War. Michigan mines produced tons of iron ore used to make cannon, iron clad ships and rails in support of the Union. Michigan supplied horses, ambulances, lumber, agriculture and was a major contributing factor in the Civil War victory.” – Presenting Station WKAR TV – Kent Wieland, Station Manager

iMichigan Productions (iMp) is a Michigan 501(c)(3) corporation. With over 75 years of collective experience in education and media, their professionals have collaborated in developing a new conceptualization of the learning process through “digital literacy curriculum” designed to engage the imagination of students of all ages. To find out how your financial contributions can help support their important endeavors, please click here.

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