Many people consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president, because he successfully led the country through the Civil War.
As the author of the Emancipation Proclamation and a strong supporter of the 13th Amendment, which prohibited slavery, he is the central figure in the nation’s greatest social reform.
But does Lincoln deserve such titles as “the Great Emancipator” or “Father Abraham” common among African-Americans in the years after the Civil War?
We have uncovered much about African-American history since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. We have also uncovered much about American history since the 1960s.
Too often there is a contradiction between the words and the actions of many of our greatest leaders. We have had to reassess the foundations of America’s commitment to freedom and its commitment to racial equality. Lincoln too is subject to this re-evaluation, more so because he is the American role model for the world on human rights and freedom.
Throughout 2008 and 2009, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission will host eleven Town Hall meetings around the country to look at these issues and to explore what progress has been made on the “unfinished work” Lincoln spoke of at Gettysburg.
Indeed, the 200th anniversary of the birth of our nation’s most revered president is not only a celebration but also a call to action. Inspired by Lincoln’s final efforts to build a multi-racial and an equal opportunity society, the National Town Halls Series will provide greater historical knowledge and educate mutual understanding about Americans’ differing attitudes and perspectives on race and ethnicity.
Town Hall meetings will be held at the following Lincoln sites:
Dates and final locations subject to change. Please check back regularly for updates. The ALBC Town Hall Series is made possible with support from the Fetzer Institute.