Seminar teaches local Civil War history

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Kathy Jefcoats


Fact meets fiction Sunday as historian, author and "Gone With The Wind" expert Peter Bonner merges the immortal words of Margaret Mitchell with real people and places.

Bonner, owner of Historical and Hysterical Tours, will share his vast knowledge of past events during a two-hour seminar at the Harry S. Downs Center at Clayton State University in Morrow.

Sunday's class picks up from a May 15 presentation and travels from the Road to Tara to the Red Earth Trail, the name of Bonner's new book, and a reference to famous historian Wilbur Kurtz.

"Wilbur Kurtz knew history and what Atlanta looked like during the Civil War," said Bonner. "He was technical advisor for the movie, 'Gone With The Wind,' and once recommended the Red Earth Trail -- Highway 54 between Jonesboro and Fayetteville -- to someone interested in the history of that time."

Last Sunday's class centered specifically around Clayton County. The second seminar extends the history beyond the county line while refreshing last week's content.

"We'll talk about who is buried in Oakland Cemetery, Westview Cemetery and several [significant] historical sites," he said. "But we'll also revisit briefly information from last week that includes the 'real' people of 'Gone With The Wind' and the Battle of Jonesboro, which the book was written around."

Bonner has operated his award-winning tour since 1996 in Clayton County and is an internationally-known storyteller and recognized expert on "Gone With The Wind." Bonner provides consulting and on-camera services to movies and television, and gives historical presentations to schools all over the South.

To sign up for the $20 course, call (678) 466-5050 or visit the college's continuing education web site at http://conted.clayton.edu.