CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Dr. James Oliver Horton said that when he moved to Virginia 27 years ago, he was surprised to find that the Civil War was still very much alive there.
"People would talk about it as if it was still going on," he said.
Virginians often referred to the Civil War as "the late unpleasantness."
Horton, a panelist on The History Channel's weekly program "The History Center," addressed attendees of the "Lincoln and His Era: Myths and Realities" seminar at the Four Points Sheraton in Chambersburg on Saturday.
Horton is the Benjamin Banneker professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University and director of the Afro-American Communities Project of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.
Horton's assertion that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War is "controversial, to say the least," he said.
"It was not the only cause, or the only important cause, but it was the central cause.