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Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series To Focus On "Lincoln's Funeral"


When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, it began a period of mourning that was emphasized in many communities as his funeral train made its way from Washington D.C. to Springfield.

The 17-hundred mile journey had an impact on the nation and certainly those who witnessed it.  But through various eyes, the passing of Abraham Lincoln was seen differently.  

Richard Fox is a Professor of History at the University of Southern California.  He has studied this portion of the Lincoln story.  He'll be among the speakers appearing October 16 at 7 p.m. at the University of Illinois Springfield for the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series. 

While there was fascination with Lincoln throughout the world, Fox said the way Lincoln's body was received in Illinois was different than any other location. 

"As soon as he even arrived in Chicago, there was a difference in the reports of the journalists on the train.  They were overwhelmed by the response of citizens in Illinois. And then, in Springfield in particular to the whole arrival of Lincoln," he said.

Fox adds that Lincoln was viewed less as an icon and more as a friend who had come home.

Fox will also discuss how sanctifying Lincoln, by claiming God had a special distinction for him, may have conflicted with his humanity.  Other aspects of his lecture will involve how African Americans and northern  whites mourned, but in different ways.  And, he will discuss how Lincoln's physical body that was viewed along the way influenced mourning rituals.

James Swanson, Senior Legal Scholar at the Heritage Foundation, will  present a lecture titled “I give you my sprig of lilac”:  The Death and Funeral of Abraham Lincoln.”

Swanson is the author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (Wm. Morrow, 2006), its sequel Bloody Crimes: The Funeral for Abraham Lincoln and the Chase for Jefferson Davis (HarperCollins, 2011), and End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Wm. Morrow, 2013).

Fox is the author of the forthcoming Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History (Norton, 2015). Burlingame is the author of the two-volume biography, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).

Dr. Michael Burlingame, Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS, will give opening remarks on “Why Lincoln was Murdered,” and serve as moderator.

The Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series is sponsored by the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership in cooperation with the Lynn Chair in Lincoln Studies. Co-sponsors of this year's event are the Abraham Lincoln Association, UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration, Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, UIS Engaged Citizenship Speaker Series, Laurie and David Farrell, Jim and Linda Gobberdiel, Illinois State Historical Society, Illinois State Library, Staab Funeral Home, University of Illinois Alumni Association, and WUIS/Illinois Issues. 

Seating in Brookens Auditorium is limited; however overflow seating will be available in the Public Affairs Center, Level 1, Conference Rooms C/D and G, where the audience can watch a large-screen live video feed. Those unable to attend in person can watch a live webcast by going to www.uis.edu/technology/uislive.html at the time of the event.

For more information, contact Barbara Ferrara in the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership at 217/206-7094.

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