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Learning from the Past

Learning from the Past

OLLI welcomes Gerald Flinchum who will be teaching three new courses. An avid history buff, he was encouraged by friends and family to share his love with others. “I am passionate about local history and out of the mainstream stories concerning that history,” Gerald said.

The courses will focus on unique events during wartime. He said students should expect to learn little-known facts about these pivotal moments, personal details that are seldom mentioned in other courses, and references and primary sources available. The information in each course will be presented with the information that Gerald has researched with pictures, maps, charts and videos.

“These courses are important as they give people the knowledge and the effects of particular historical episodes,” said Gerald. “They cover very specific areas of history.”

Throughout learning and preparing for the courses, Gerald found the most interesting part was the discovery of the wealth of information that exists. Alongside this are the incredible people he meets along the way and the fieldwork.

Gerald Flinchum War in Georgia Class“The Guerrilla War in Georgia” is based on a three-year project with field research, a rare look into the “Irregular War” that began with local opposition to secession in 1861, and the Southern states’ passage of conscription in 1862, which led to open rebellion by 1863.

This is an overview of the operations of state troops and home guard militia to counter draft evasion, desertion, and those disloyal to the Confederate cause. Class discussion will cover Guerrilla bands and Partisan Rangers, who exercised military discipline conducting raids. A map of Georgia state counties covered, a movie list, and a recommended reading list will also be included.

“Iron Maidens: Iron Warships of the Confederacy” covers the plans, development and building of the 50 vessels built for the Confederacy in which 22 saw active service. A sailor stationed aboard the CSS Georgia in 1864 and conditions on the Confederate ironclads in Savannah are also a part of the class discussion.

“The Early Years: U.S. Involvement in Vietnam 1941-1961” will cover the political and military involvement leading up to the early escalation of the war under the JFK administration. Students will discuss the first U.S. Army casualty and the “mysterious beginnings,” according to Gerald, of American military buildup that was kept classified until after 1971.

This instructor wants his students “to be able to open their eyes when they travel, talk with strangers, find out about their stories, look around, take in the scenery and learn to explore!”

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