Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

12 Years a Slave in Theatres Now

12 Years a SlaveLike many of you I am very much looking forward to seeing this movie. It looks like Hollywood’s sesquicentennial trifecta will go down with Lincoln, Django Unchained, and now 12 Years a Slave. These three movies collectively have both reflected and come to define current thinking about- and memory of the Civil War Era.

This image alone gives me hope that the movie will be both intellectually and emotionally stimulating. In doing so, let’s hope it challenge many of the public’s assumptions about the “peculiar institution.”

Anyone who has read Solomon Northrup’s narrative will agree that his story is worthy of Hollywood’s attention, but it is interesting that it beat Frederick Douglass’s much more popular account of slavery and freedom to the big screen.

Martin Luther King’s Great Civil War Centennial Speech

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But 100 years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

And so we’ve come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a cheque. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. . . .

Massachusetts Veterans Gather at Forbes House in 1924

One of the places that I still need to visit in my neighborhood is the Forbes House in Milton. In the 1920s the home was owned by Mary Bowditch Forbes, who amassed a sizable collection of Civil War and Lincoln related memorabilia. The family were strong Unionists during the 1860s and were responsible for the construction of a number of gunboats and the organization of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company A.

In 1924 Mary welcomed local G.A.R. members to the house to unveil an exact replica of Lincoln’s boyhood home. The film portion of the video begins at the 2:40 mark. It’s well worth your time. You will even notice an African-American G.A.R. member, which I know will warm the heart of Barbara Gannon. Enjoy.