December 31, 2012 —
Abe Lincoln is coming to the Library Center. So are minstrels, exhibits and talks about the Battle of Springfield, slavery and notorious bushwhackers.
They’re among programs planned by the Springfield-Greene County Library District and several partners to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1863 Battle of Springfield, Marmaduke’s Raid through the Ozarks and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The series runs Jan. 8-13; exhibits continue through February.
Living history scholar Fritz Klein will bring Lincoln to life in a one-man performance at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9 in the Library Center auditorium. Klein is with the Lincoln Institute For Education, Springfield, Ill. He has been seen in the New York Times, on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television, C-Span, USA Today and across Europe.
On the heels of the must-see current film, “Lincoln,” Klein will discuss Missouri’s unique issues in the Civil War, from slavery and emancipation to border-state violence.
Lincoln appeals to the world on many levels, and Klein sees that in the audiences who come to his presentations.
“Some of us are attracted to that fatherly character that he radiates, and it’s cross-cultural,” Klein said. “It’s something that happened in his own day and continues to happen.”
Klein admires Lincoln’s practice of the Golden Rule – “The principle of equality in dealing with minorities and dealing with opposition politicians,” Klein says. “He treated folks very equitably. He wasn’t a perfect man, but that inspires me.”
Klein also sees parallels between Lincoln’s day and today’s philosophical polarization behind the current fiscal crisis – a topic he’s willing to address during the Q&A session “in character” and later as scholar Fritz Klein.
Historical context: In early January 1863, Confederate troops rode north from Arkansas and entered Missouri with plans to disrupt Union operations in southwest Missouri. That push, “Marmaduke’s Raid,” lasted 16 days, destroyed several Union garrisons and ignited the battles in Springfield and Hartville.
On the national stage, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, freeing slaves only in states in rebellion against the Union. Missouri was considered loyal; her slaves weren’t freed until 1865.
The Library is sponsoring this series in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and with support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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