Starting Monday, the Matheson Museum downtown is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gainesville with a civil rights exhibit.
The exhibit, called “Sesquicentennial,” will take visitors back to the beginning of the civil rights movement in Alachua County — as far back as the Civil War and the Battle of Gainesville in 1864. The exhibit then traces the civil rights movement all the way to the integration of public school in the 1960s.
Stephanie Pastore, museum technician, said visitors will be able to trace back to the evolution of the civil rights movement in Alachua County through photographs, displays and oral history archives.
Curator Megan Mosley said the exhibit will make it easier for visitors to comprehend the cause and effect of the civil rights movement by piecing together past events in the order they occurred.
“It’s amazing when you start looking at these very personal stories how close the past is, and how you can start to understand Civil War history better,” she said.
The archives will present personal stories about African-Americans during Reconstruction, the Jim Crow South and the transition to the civil rights movement.
One exhibit will focus on Josiah T. Walls, an African-American who was forced to serve in the Confederate Army and later served as the first African-American mayor in Gainesville.