The Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series will happen this Thursday night on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.
The topic this year is Lincoln vs. Douglas: Slavery and Race in Illinois History.
“This is the bicentennial year in Illinois and I thought we should focus on Lincoln,” said Michael Burlingame, the Chancellor Naomi Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the university. “And one of the most dramatic chapters of Lincoln’s life in Illinois is his rivalry with Stephen Douglas.”
The free event will feature Burlingame and two other guest lecturers: Graham Peck, History professor at St. Xavier University and Roger Bridges, former head of the Lincoln Legal Papers.
While we are all aware of Lincoln’s role in emancipation, Burlingame will talk about Lincoln’s relationship with individual African Americans.
“How he related to black people in Springfield…and Washington,” he said.
As for Douglas, when debating Lincoln he often played the race card.
“Douglas was a shameless race baiter,” Burlingame said. “Everything we know about Lincoln’s relationship with individual black people and his feelings about slavery indicates he did not have a racial bone in his body.”
The Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series is Thursday night at UIS in the Student Union Ballroom from 7 to 9.
It’s open to the public.