Civil War group makes history of its own
The Civil War is long over, but it remains fresh in the minds of the members of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago, a group of history buffs dedicated to the dark time in U.S. history.
“I joined the round table in the early 1990s but did not become very active until on or about 2008, when I became an officer,” Mark Matranga told the West Cook News. “I have been on 16 tours; many of our members have been on two or three times that number.”
Founded in the 1940s, the group was a kind of trendsetter for this type of dialogue-centric community, Matranga said.
“The Civil War Round Table was the first of its kind,” he said. “There are now hundreds of round tables around the globe – London, Sydney and two others in Australia, Toronto and Kingston, Ontario, and Belgium, among other places – and across the U.S., of course.”
The group uses its cumulative knowledge to help educate the public and work for the preservation of historic sites, including battlefields, which can be harmed by development. Additionally, members of the group travel and speak on a variety of topic related to the Civil War.
“We have members of all ages, from teenagers and up,” Matranga said. “And, of course, it’s a mix of genders; we have had female presidents going back to at least the early 1990s and probably before that time as well.”
The group is open to people from all walks of life, from blue collar workers to policemen, teachers, judges, religious leaders and airline pilots. Monthly meetings are held at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5615 N. Cumberland.
“All are very interesting people independent of their interest in the Civil War,” Matranga said. “One need not be a whiz at history to participate. An interest in history is all; the round table will take care of the rest. Now at the end of its 77th year, the CWRT is very proud of its heritage as the founding group in the round table movement.”