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Early Bicentennial Programs

Prior to the Kentucky Inaugural and the official kick-off to Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday celebrations, the ALBC hosted the following programs to build awareness of the Bicentennial.

Lincoln Seen and Heard

Written and edited by ALBC Co-Chair Harold Holzer, “Lincoln Seen and Heard” weaved together photos and Lincoln’s best-known words into a multimedia program reflecting the president’s development as a leader and writer.

Holzer – with award-winning actor Sam Waterston portraying Lincoln – presented “Lincoln Seen and Heard” on four occasions.

February 9, 2003 – As the nation marked Lincoln’s 194th birthday, the Commission’s Advisory Committee met in Washington to further the Bicentennial planning. It concluded with a public performance of “Lincoln Seen and Heard” at the Library of Congress.
April 4, 2004 – A crowd of approximately 750, including former U.S. President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush, saw “Lincoln Seen and Heard” at the Bush presidential library in Houston, Texas.
February 11, 2005 – President and Mrs. George W. Bush welcomed the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to the White House, and that evening they and other distinguished guests enjoyed “Lincoln Seen and Heard” in the East Room. Video of this program courtesy of C-SPAN.
February 11, 2008 – As part of ALBC’s inaugural signature event in Kentucky, approximately 1,100 people enjoyed “Lincoln Seen and Heard” at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville.

Lincoln Family Album – February 13, 2006

Academy Award-nominated actor Liam Neeson and Academy Award-winning actress Holly Hunter portrayed the President and First Lady in this picture-and-words account of the lives and times of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. ALBC Co-Chairman Harold Holzer provided the accompanying narrative.

The tapestry of words and pictures re-creates a personal and political union and vividly recalls the Lincolns triumphs and tragedies. “The Lincoln Family Album,” was performed in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

C-SPAN taped this event.

Chicago History Museum Round-table – February 10, 2007

The ALBC hosted a “Round-table on African Americans’ Evolving Perspectives on Abraham Lincoln” at the Chicago History Museum. ALBC Commissioner and Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., offered opening remarks before a distinguished panel tackled how Abraham Lincoln should be viewed in the context of race and his legacy on slavery and emancipation. some participants challenging Lincoln’s image as the “Great Emancipator.”

ALBC Commissioner James O. Horton moderated a panel that included U.S. Representative Danny Davis of Illinois; CNN commentator Roland S. Martin; Jenner & Block partner Philip Harris; N’Digo magazine publisher Hermene Hartman; Walter Payton College Preparatory teacher Kyle Westbrook; James Grossman, vice president for research and education, Newberry Library; Charles Branham, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and emeritus professor, Indiana University; Adam Green, associate professor, New York University; Cheryl Johnson-Odim, provost and vice president, Dominican University; Julieanna Richardson, executive director, The HistoryMakers; Jacqueline Stewart, associate professor, Northwestern University; and Chicago Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice.

C-SPAN taped this event.

Conversation with John Hope Franklin – April 15, 2007

The ALBC held “A Conversation with John Hope Franklin: Reflections on African American History and Abraham Lincoln,” at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

The late Dr. Franklin reflected on his 50-year career teaching about Lincoln and African-American history and his personal experiences as an African American living through most of the 20th century. Kurt L. Schmoke, dean of the Howard University School of Law and former mayor of Baltimore, interviewed Franklin before a live audience.

Dr. Franklin died on March 25, 2009. This program was taped by C-SPAN and held along with the 2007 meeting of the ALBC Advisory Committee and Governors’ Council.

New Thinking on Lincoln’s Legacy:  Hispanic Perspectives – September 18, 2007

In partnership with the National Archives’ celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the ALBC co-sponsored a program examining Hispanic perspectives on Lincoln, his era and his legacy. The panel discussion was part of the ALBC’s ongoing series of explorations of various perspectives on Lincoln in anticipation of the bicentennial.

U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois introduced the three speakers:  Ernesto Chávez, associate professor of history, University of Texas at El Paso; Jerry Thompson, Regents Professor, Social Science Department, Texas A&M University, and Estévan Rael-Gálvez, New Mexico state historian and New Mexico’s ALBC state liaison.

Chavez examined how Mexican Americans have viewed Lincoln both during his lifetime and into the early 20th century. Thompson focused on the Civil War in the New Mexico territory and the war in Texas and the role Latinos played in that conflict. Rael-Galvez explored how Lincoln’s legacy relates to Indian peonage, slavery and the value of labor.

Lincoln and the Jews – January 13, 2008

Jean Soman – descendant of both Marcus Spiegel, a Jewish colonel in the Union Army, and noted Lincoln photographer Samuel Alschuler – organized and helped fund the event marking Florida’s Jewish History Month.

The program detailed how Lincoln opened the military chaplaincy to rabbis during the Civil War; worked with Jewish financiers on innovative ways to fund the war; and countermanded General Grant when he ordered Jews, “as a class,” expelled from the territory under his military command.

Panelists included Mrs. Soman, member of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Foundation; ALBC Co-Chairman Harold Holzer, and Gary Zola, executive director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Ohio. Gary Gershman, a history and law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, moderated.