SIDNEY — The story of black troops who fought for the Union in the Civil War will be presented by teaching artist Anthony Gibbs during Sidney’s Civil War Living History Weekend this September in Tawawa Park.
The Sept. 15-16 event will feature Gibbs, who has taught and presented history programs and character impressions in many venues, as well as several other presenters over the weekend.
Gibbs’ presentation, entitled Fighting for Freedom: The Story of the United States Colored Troops, will detail the efforts of the more than 179,000 black soldiers who donned the uniform of the American Army during the conflict.
“These men were freedom fighters who fought for emancipation and for full citizenship rights,” Gibbs said. “I will discuss events significant to these men that led up to the Civil War, and what made these men different from the other thousands who fought and died in the War between the states.”
“Their efforts have long been overlooked, even in their own home towns,” Gibbs continued. “An example is the research that Mayor Mike Barhorst has been conducting over the course of the past couple of years about local troops who enlisted and fought, bled and died only to be forgotten once the war was concluded.”
Gibbs has traveled widely around the region sharing dramatic historical stories in schools, libraries, museums, and other venues. He is a gifted storyteller who captures his audiences with spellbinding performances that keep listeners on the edge of their seats.
“I am delighted that Anthony has agreed to participate in this year’s Civil War Living History Weekend,” Barhorst said. “He engages the audience in his presentations with his commanding presence, historical knowledge, authentic props, and excellent oratorical skills.”
“Anthony has a tremendous knowledge of history,” Barhorst continued. “He loves history, and leaves his audiences with a greater respect and appreciation for the power of storytelling and the timeless messages we can all learn by studying history.”
For more than a dozen years Anthony has presented historical workshops and performances on the United States Colored Troops and their participation in the Civil War. Gibbs has portrayed living history characters such as John Parker, an Underground Railroad conductor from Ripley, Ohio; Milton Holland, a soldier and Medal of Honor recipient of the 5th United States Colored Troops; and other key figures in African American history.
A graduate of The Ohio State University, Gibbs works for Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) as the manager of Local History Services. Gibbs has been a frequent presenter at the Shelby County Historical Society’s Civil War Day held each year for eighth-grade students at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.
Gibbs resides in the Columbus area with his wife and children.