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Our Next Meeting: “Enduring Legacy: The Lost Cause Myth"

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“Enduring Legacy: The Lost Cause Myth" W. Stuart Towns will be our speaker.

Reservations required and DEADLINE is March 7. To make reservations or for more information, call or email John Restall (703)[masked], [masked]

6 PM Cash Bar, 7 PM Dinner, 8 PM Lecture. Dinner is optional and costs $30. You must pay for your dinner reservations unless cancelled at least 24 hours in advance. We encourage attendance for the speaker’s lecture only, $5 charge to help with travel costs for our speakers.

Enduring Legacy: The Lost Cause Myth will explore the crucial role of the spoken word in creating and propagating a “Lost Cause” public memory of the American South, and explores the vital place of ceremonial oratory in oral tradition in the South. Civil Rights Movement and the contemporary debates over the public use of Confederate flags, monuments, and other Confederate memorabilia. Our speaker argues that the Lost Cause orators who led the South after the Civil War helped to shape a lasting mythology of the Confederate martyrs and the southern attitudes regarding the Reconstruction era. Towns will explain how Lost Cause memory still influences southern and national perceptions of the region to this day, as demonstrated in debates and discussion over the continued deployment of the Confederate flag and the popularity of Civil War reenactments.

About Our Speaker: W. Stuart Towns, Ph.D., has spent more than 40 years following his passion for history and the impact words have had on history, especially Southern history.

The 1950s and 1960s led Dr. Towns to the University of Arkansas on a track and cross-country scholarship; he continued his education at the University of Florida where he received his masters and doctoral degrees in Speech (1962 and 1972 respectively). Through his career he served as chair of the Communication departments at The University of West Florida, Appalachian State University, and Southeast Missouri State University. He retired in 2011.

Dr. Towns had a parallel second career in the U.S. Army, which began when he enrolled in R.O.T.C. at the University of Arkansas. He earned a spot on the United States Modern Pentathlon team; he competed in the 1964 Olympic Trials in modern pentathlon, marathon, and fencing. After completing his active duty, Dr. Towns served the rest of his military career in the Active Army Reserves in the Civil Affairs branch, mostly with the 361st CA Brigade in Pensacola, FL. He took an opportunity to become a member of the Consulting Faculty Program at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1973 and served in that role until 1996. Dr. Towns retired as a Colonel in the Active Army Reserves in 1996.

Dr. Towns’ most recent publication, Enduring Legacy: Rhetoric and Ritual of the Lost Cause (University of Alabama Press, 2012), demonstrates Towns’ interest in examining the history of southern rhetoric and oratory.

DIRECTIONS: Fort McNair is located at 4th and P streets, SW, near the Waterfront/Marina. Some landmarks are the Waterfront Metro, the EPA building at Waterside Mall, Arena Stage. Visitors must use the 2nd Street Entrance to enter the installation.

Coming from Virginia (South) via the 14th Street Bridge:
Take 95 North to 395 North going into Washington, DC. Go over the 14th Street bridge staying to the left. The road splits - left to route 1 and right to 395 North. Stay to the left but after the split get in the right lane. There is a right exit for Maine Avenue. At the light turn left. Stay straight on Maine Avenue - Waterfront is on the right. Maine Avenue turns into M Street near Arena Stage which is on the left. Turn right on 4th Street (Waterfront metro/Waterside Mall/Safeway is on the left). Go through one light and then the road dead ends at the front gate of McNair. This entrance will be closed, so proceed on P Street following the brick wall to the stop sign at 2nd Street SW and turn right. Entrance to the base is approximately a block down on the right. The military police at the gate will give you directions to the Officers' Club.

Coming from Virginia (West) via I-66:
Take Independence Avenue along the Tidal Basin. Follow signs for Maine Avenue. Stay straight on Maine Avenue - Waterfront is on the right. Maine Avenue turns into M Street near Arena Stage, which is on the left. Turn right on 4th Street (Waterfront metro/Waterside Mall/Safeway is on the left). Go through one light and then the road dead ends at the front gate of McNair. This entrance will be closed, so proceed on P Street following the brick wall to the stop sign at 2nd Street SW and turn right. Entrance to the base is approximately a block down on the right. The military police at the gate will give you directions to the Officers' Club.

Coming from Maryland:
Take 95 South toward Viginia. Just before the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, take 295 toward Washington, DC. Exit at South Capitol Street. Go over the Fredrick Douglas Bridge. Get in the right lane. Make a left at the light onto M Street. (This takes you over South Capitol Street). Turn left on 4th Street (Waterfront metro/Waterside Mall/Safeway is on the right). Go through one light and then the road dead ends at the front gate of Fort McNair.This entrance will be closed, so proceed on P Street following the brick wall to the stop sign at 2nd Street SW and turn right. Entrance to the base is approximately a block down on the right. The military police at the gate will give you directions to the Officers' Club.

Coming from Northwest DC:
From Constitution Ave. going east toward the Capitol, turn right on 7th street, which brings you to Maine Ave. Turn left on Maine Ave. (The Waterfront is in front of you if you went straight). Maine Avenue turns into M Street near Arena Stage, which is on the left. Turn right on 4th Street (Waterfront metro/Waterside Mall/Safeway is on the left). Go through one light and then the road dead ends at the front gate of McNair. This entrance will be closed, so proceed on P Street following the brick wall to the stop sign at 2nd Street SW and turn right. Entrance to the base is approximately a block down on the right. The military police at the gate will give you directions to the Officers' Club.

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