Skip to main content

tv   The Presidency Abraham Lincoln Remembered  CSPAN  March 3, 2019 8:00pm-9:02pm EST

8:00 pm
we -- so that when you're teske deep appears -- your tuskegee appears, you will be ready. ♪ >> they were just exceptional people, there is no doubt about that. the cream of the crop. next on "the presidency," and abraham lincoln scholar gives an illustrated talk at the new york historical society about the monuments created to the 16th president and what they say about how we remember him. he previously served as chair of the lincoln bicentennial author,on and as the co-author, or editor of over 50 lincoln books. this is an hour. >> good evening, everyone.
8:01 pm
welcome to the new york historical society. given the weather, i am very glad to see such a full and enthusiastic crowd in our beautiful auditorium. for those of you who don't already know me, i am louise mirrer, president of new york historical. , i would likeram to thank our great trustee and benefactor for making the event possible, along with all of the other great programs he supports. i would also like to recognize and thank one of our terrific trustees, alan shook, in the audience. thank you for all of the amazing work you do on behalf of this great institution.
8:02 pm
[applause] louise: i want to thank as well be chairman's council members with us tonight. will lastng's program about an hour and include a question and answer session. the q&a will be conducted via written no cards. you should have received a no card and pencil on the way in -- received a note card and pencil on the way in. the questions on the cards will be collected later in the program. a book, there will be signing in our store and copies of harold's book will be for sale. we are thrilled to welcome zer.ld hol author, co-author, or editor of over 50 books on
8:03 pm
abraham lincoln and the civil lincoln andcluding " the power of the press," which won the lincoln price. ofhas served as president the abraham lincoln foundation, and as cochair of the lincoln centennial foundation. he was awarded the national humanities medal by president bush. his newest book is "monument man: the life and art of daniel chester french." before i invite him to the stage, i ask that you make sure that anything that makes noise like a cell phone is switched off. haroldn me in welcoming holzer, our speaker this evening. [applause] mr. holzer: good evening.
8:04 pm
braved theteful you typical lincoln's birthday weather to join us tonight. i think this might be the 40th lincoln's birthday where i have made a speech or lector. it varies. a misery of the birthday of my older daughter, she is the 11th, and she has had to make trips to sprinkle, -- to springfield, illinois. for which i apologize. i also apologize that lincoln was not born on may 10, but that is the way it goes. [laughter] mr. holzer: this is the 210th birthday of abraham lincoln. it is a privilege to talk about him tonight in this great institution which i love, and a particular honor to be delivering the annual bill
8:05 pm
clinton lecture in american history. president clinton has been very generous and kind to me over the years. as i think i heard louisa say. he gave me the life changing opportunity to allow me to chair the lincoln bicentennial commission in 2000. he give us a great tour once of the lincoln bedroom and the closet, it was then chelsea's closet, from which president lincoln gave his speeches from the white house window. that was an extraordinary opportunity. i am sorry he is not here tonight. hope youlittle rock, i got there. i do not want to begin without thinking of. every president is concerned with his legacy. clinton,e president have the chance to work directly on building and burnishing it over the years in retirement.
8:06 pm
they built libraries, they embark on speaking tour's, write books, and if they are fortunate like president carter, they are blessed with time and energy to build entirely new postpresidential reputations. bill clinton has remained on the american scene as a vivid ex-president for 19 years. president carter for a 38 years.aking abraham lincoln, as we know, did not have such an opportunity. 15 -- assassinated april april 14, date on -- died on april 15, 1865. immediatelyt transformed by a shocked public into a national martyr, a secular saint come if you will. easter sundayt across america is another savior who had died for a nations sins,
8:07 pm
and mourned at passover services that same sunday as a modern leds, who like the first enslaved people to the promised land. lincoln was blessed in 1865 and places from honored above hearth stones and family parlors, a kind of secular domestic space where ordinary americans bore witness to political beliefs adorning the space with images of their heroes. was a soon ase much in evidence as george washington's, as the religious icons of old had once held the space. since images have since vanished bym american homes, replaced
8:08 pm
family photos, posters of rock stars, and now bite widescreen tv's over the mantel pieces. i don't have to provide an explanation of the enduring power of a different kind of image making, public statuary, to stir emotions. as we know, statues still of folk very deep reactions. i just spoke about that unresolved phenomenon from this stage a couple of weeks ago. the battle for memory in the public square continues, particularly across the south, in charlottesville, at unc, in new orleans, and elsewhere. let's admit, it has touched new york, too. jackson's bust set at the nyu hall of fame until just a few years ago. statues of abraham lincoln and frederick douglass stand in close proximity to a contested equestrian portrait of theodore
8:09 pm
roosevelt across 70 seven st at natural history. and only a few miles from the father of modern gynecology, removed just a couple of years ago when it was revealed he made his great discovery by experimenting on enslaved women with neither anesthesia nor consent. so fully aware as we are of the power of the public memorial and reminded as we should be of the intimate power of the printed and painted image, i want to use an assortment of these images tonight to trace the complex and continuing evolution of the lincoln legacy. the goal is to recall and understand how lincoln has been remembered, and perhaps as well how he should be. so this image might have been a way that lincoln perpetually
8:10 pm
, a photographcoln made a few days before his assassination. the photographer broke in his hands the glass late, resulting in this cracked photograph. then it was found it was taken not on april mind, as had been believed, but on february 5. it was not even the last portrait of lincoln, and it lost some of its power. ofs was the last photograph lincoln, sort of a squinting, disagreeable picture, taken on the balcony of the white house in a march wind. this would not do, either. americans remember lincoln in those months and years after his assassination? originally it was by newsworthy depictions, i guess by the cnn of its time, currier and ives prints, which imagined the way the lincoln assassination looked
8:11 pm
aod lincoln did not clutch symbolic american flag at the moment of his assassination, but it was a good image for that reason. currier and ives also provided a glimpse at the lincoln deathbed. demise ofhe royal great kings, just a small room in a boarding house across the street from the theater. was notay, his son thad at the scene, but it seemed appropriate to include him. wassome people said this hardly a way to remember and appreciate abraham lincoln, with 11 people in a room. why not remember him this way? with 86 people in the room. this is john littlefield's interpretation of the lincoln death room with of the room expanded to about 10 times the size. another way was to remove her that one great president had saved the union and another preserved the union. many people collected these
8:12 pm
images of lincoln and washington be stride the continent. then there was a way of remembering lincoln as a family he and a devoted father surely was, but in truth he had little time to spend with his family once he assumed the presidency in the midst of a war. this image was taken a year before he died but no one ever thought it have any consequence or appeal until his assassination about 15 months later, when suddenly this image became hugely popular and inspired artists to use it as the basis for prince of imagining a big, happy family -- big,prints imagining a happy family, nothing like what they had become during the civil war. this is francis carpenter's interpretation, in the collection of the new york historical society. why not remember lincoln by his
8:13 pm
greatest act? the act through which he said he would go down in history? of course, the emancipation proclamation. bold tributes created this image of his face using the words of the proclamation, until people recognized they were not terribly inspiring, but rather legalistic feud -- legalistic. another way was to imagine his first reading of it before the cabinet, but this kind of staid group of older white men dealing with black rights also quickly became outdated. or you could become very fanciful and imagine lincoln rising into heaven himself with faith, hope, and charity to welcome him. why a native american in the foreground, some wondered? of anas an apotheosis
8:14 pm
image of george washington. they dusted off the plate, they took out washington's head and put lincoln's end. [laughter] theholzer: this explains masonic symbol, he was not a mason. there was an idea that washington, d.c. should become the site of a lincoln memorial, as we know it did. this was the first design. it is pictured in the site for which it was intended. it was done by clark mills, who did the sort of clumsy statue of andrew jackson that still stands in left it parked in washington. mills had also done a life mask of lincoln right before his death, but he did not imagine a simple tribute. there were 36 other figures here.
8:15 pm
generals, political figures, a match and figures, and at the very top, abraham lincoln signing the emancipation proclamation. needless to say, the plan did not go very far in washington. 1876, there was a successful attempt to build a monument to lincoln in washington. it is now considered totally politically incorrect and it is one of those statues that is disputed in the new public debate over public memorials. ulysses s grant unveiled it. frederick douglas gave the dedicatory address in 1876. it is by thomas ball. interestingly, it was funded exclusively by african-americans. sits ine it still
8:16 pm
southeast washington. in 1887, another great achievement that is still considered a great work of art, also known asan," standing lincoln in chicago. a hard act to follow. it was unveiled by abraham lincoln's grandson, how much more appropriate could it he? 1875, to thek to professional origins of a man who i think actually created the great lincoln image, the great iconic lincoln image of his time and ours. that is daniel chester french. dressed rather jauntily on the left. his first successful work, another iconic work, "minuteman," unveiled in massachusetts in 1875.
8:17 pm
at that time, he was in florence studying under the extravagantly bearded fellow in the rear, thomas ball, the man who had done the lincoln statue for washington. studied --rench mostly he was studying ball's daughter, on whom he developed a crush. [laughter] mr. holzer: but he studied with balland no doubt -- with and no doubt found the model that we now see in washington, d.c. we see how a sculptor can deal with abraham lincoln and the question of emancipation. we saw it from all angles. those who visit the actual statue can see that from some angles, the emphasis is on the kneeling slave rather than the uplifted slave, which is part of the reason why it has fallen into disfavor.
8:18 pm
french -- i am happy he lost his hair, i feel some vindication. [laughter] mr. holzer: he had gray hair. -- great hair. he is in new york, half of his time spent in the berkshires. he is on board of the metropolitan museum of art. he is the leading american sculptor. he has become a master of civil war commission. general grant for philadelphia, unveiled by mrs. grant. this is to give you an idea. this is general hooker from boston. andnsuccessful general successful dedication ceremony. these were big deals in the day. on a more intimate level, this is french working in his greenwich village studio, a tribute to three brothers from
8:19 pm
his home town of concord, massachusetts, who had died in the civil war called "mourning victory." this is the marble version that sits in the met. here he is, highly successful, and he gets a terrific trial run. he is asked to do a lincoln for the nebraska state capital, which you all know what that is lincoln.- he always does a good deal of work, research. lincoln photographs, he gets the photographer to send him individual photographs, and he produces his own standing lincoln. down.ooding lincoln, face theman who was present when
8:20 pm
model was unveiled in lincoln, nebraska, went up to french and abraham lincoln's begin illinois, and you may not know this, that before every speech, he stood with his hands clasped in front of him and his head bowed and then he raised his head and began. when they in vail that, she said, you saw him, too? it was an not, but intuitive interpretation. this point, french is so famous and so well-established that two other american presidents enlist him to be part of the rebuilding and remodeling scheme and washington, d.c. the development of the national mall, the prevention of blight in washington. theodore roosevelt conceives of a national commission of fine arts. william howard taft organize it and names daniel chester french to chair it.
8:21 pm
there he is at the head of the table. it is kind of an interlocking directorate at this point of washington, d.c. planners. taft is now named head of the lincoln memorial commission, as he leaves the presidency to woodrow wilson. they finally have figured out a way, and it took a republican congress and republican president, taft, to create the legislation needed to raise the enormous sum of like $200,000 to build a lincoln memorial at long last in washington. this is 40 years after lincoln's death. it is coming on lincoln's centennial time, so there was a great hunger to get this done at last in the nation's capital. because controversy, there had to be controversy, is where to build it. the site that we know was not automatically chosen.
8:22 pm
some of the ideas were pretty loopy. this is union station in its early days, and one of the earliest proposals was the building next to union station. only when people thought, we don't want commuters rushing by the statue, was that idea sh elved. they went back to the u.s. capital, but a plan had been developed to devote that space to ulysses s. grant, and you see that statue today. the is another plan, soldiers home, lincoln's summer cottage outside washington. lincoln chose it because a remote, and it did not get the nod because it was remote. how about the naval observatory? i like that this is an aerial view of the naval observatory, i think it is appropriate. here is the naval observatory on e street. again, it did not seem to be the right place. meridian hall park.
8:23 pm
that is on florida avenue in washington. probably not the best place to either. -- place, either. seatedhey already had a statue of james buchanan. the wisest idea seemed to be, if the mall was being developed, to do west potomac park. this is what it looked like when he was above water, which was not all the time. at the turn-of-the-century, when the idea was hatched to build there. not everybody wanted to do what now seems obvious. this is the nancy pelosi of his day, uncle joe cannon, speaker of the house of representatives. , i will never let a memorial to abraham lincoln be swap.on that god damned
8:24 pm
-- swamp. if his wishes were not respected, he would site the lincoln memorial on the virginia side of the confederacy, which seemed a bit perverse. the only reason why west potomac park was ultimately chosen is because this man, this bearded statesman, john hay, the secretary of state and who had previously been abraham lincoln's deputy private secretary, testified powerfully before congress and convinced a reluctant house and senate to site the memorial in west potomac park, facing the washington monument. it seemed so natural. and then it came to design. these big public projects usually inspired major competitions. competition,was no
8:25 pm
and i tried in my research on daniel chester french to determine why there was never a formal commission. still,wer is elusive it's not in the official files. but henry bacon, the architect, was chosen. the only alternative proposal was by john russell pope, who later did the national gallery of art, who proposed a pyramid or my intemperate -- mayan temple. bacon, who had been a young collaborator on many of fringes rench's projects, proposed the iconic greek temple we know today. work began by 1911. these are instructions shots from the national archives which i love. it reminds us, one, that the under croft of the lincoln memorial is much deeper than the
8:26 pm
aboveground part. some of you may know that david rubenstein, who appears here often, is funding the redevelopment of this basement, which is really swampy and musty , and turning it into a visitor center, which will be a great boon. he we go with construction, little by little taking shape. amazingly quickly. it was not easy because it was sinking into the ground as it was being built. [laughter] mr. holzer: you see the undercroft is really deep. and now the steps leading to the top. what about the statue? that is the main attraction. put saintidea was to gaudin's statue there. sure knew that french wanted to do this great
8:27 pm
commission, said he would not allow a replica to be built and his memorial. -- in his memorial. nor did they want a standing lincoln. this is an earlier work french did, a seated memorial to marshall field, the merchant from chicago. french really early adapted the enthronedseated, abraham lincoln. this is bacon's original drawing of the idea french had communicated to him. there is one big problem, french was not only on the commission of fine arts, he was the chairman. the final design would have to be approved by the national commission of fine arts. french did not resign immediately. he took his sweet time getting off the commission. it had all been presupposed that
8:28 pm
the bacon-french partnership would prevail. president resigned to wilson and set to work. i'm going to show you a little of his creative process because it is so extraordinary. he started with the life mask of lincoln. those are not symbolic nails, they are measuring nails a sculptor uses. the life cast of lincoln's hands. his own hands that he cast in the positions he thought he wanted them. he was a stickler in the way he portrayed hands. his first cast was made in about 1912. there is no doubt who the senior partner was because he wrote to bacon and said, "it should interest you to know i am making models. when i have anything worthwhile, i expect to come up and see what i have to offer." it was fringes project from here on in. here is an enlargement he did to
8:29 pm
look exactly like the figure that has become so familiar. enlargements, this gives you an idea of what his last model looks like. there is dan standing in front of it, and in the recesses of lincoln's coat is the original model he started with. he did no drawings. it was a remarkable process. he sat there with a block of clay and began. he sketched in three dimensions, which for me is unimaginable talent and gift. he had to sell really only one person on his design, robert lincoln, the surviving son of abraham lincoln. his 70's, he lived until 1926. he was around. they had a give-and-take very much like his give and take with bacon. take it to me,
8:30 pm
washington, come to greenwich village. not see preeminence to the other was the determinant voice. but he went down to washington the behemoth. he had planned a 12-foot high on a base, and he looked he said this and is going to be a terrible failure and it had to be bigger, and he had a great eye needless to say. he immediately thought 19 to 20 do it but how do you get congress to reappropriate or 50 or iate an additional $60,000 either in bronze or marble. he had not r not, decided. here's how he did it. lincoln's headof
8:31 pm
that was proportion national to 19-foot high statue. he took to it washington, he uspended it from ropes in exactly the position it would hold in the lincoln memorial got robertnd then he incoln to come down and say, this is perfect. you couldn't do anything smaller. persuasive work is now in the new york historical society. that dvocate for a label fully discloses its history as the model that changed the size lincoln memorial. so what next? daniel chester french is a great receiver. he's a great modeler. he's not michelangelo. take tools and begin chipping away at marble or, in case, 28 blocks of marble from tennessee. carved.em to be
8:32 pm
ome were defective they had to work around it. that work was handled by immigrants. a nice story. these are some brothers from italy. five of them who worked in such when one was finished with a chisel and ready to take break he would hand it his brother and his brother would just continue seamlessly. lincoln memorial was also made in the bronx at a factory of mash cutting that they operated not far from yankee stadium is today. a magazine sketch artist got to historical york society head, and made some the work drawings of of were doing, the blocks
8:33 pm
marble and their famous lunch reaks, in which one brother would make macaroni for the group. to get up there a lot for lunch. head, the on the hands, but again, this was a joint effort. his modelers in stockbridge, new york, helped with the casting, nd the brothers, who will be honored in that new museum created the marbles. steps had nt the begun to be built. aniel chester french and henry bacon, on the top step, and they ring the 20 blocks of marble down by rail express and they assemble them on -- no concealment from the public.
8:34 pm
french now in his 70s but he scampers up those two ladders to top and polishes off the pieces, the parts of the to be that he wants perfect. so there is. 1/2 years would pass before to dedication, and i do want the time talking about dedication in which the lincoln legacy, image and to recover. on memorial day 1922 the city's community got n there early. they got to the front rows and a ceremony before the was to get under way, police cleared them out of their seats and moved them back to seating in the back of the crowd. lincoln event.
8:35 pm
seats had backs. their seats were benches. they were replaced in their aged confederate eterans in uniform to add irony. some people refused to stay, including one really interesting man named was the first african-american rhodes scholar. walked out in protest when this happened. the chicago defender -- and but to ll wrote freely their own audience about being status at an lass lleged event honoring an emancipate-tor. of theled it jim crowism greatest sort per pedestrian waited by the hypocrites of a a day devoted to
8:36 pm
abraham lincoln. only at was not the indignity. here's the crowd as it gathers a hundred about end.and people in the was now the rding president and he asked one african-american to speak to race.sent his they chose a conservative who is the rt -- principal of the tuskegee brooker t. washington's successor. a pretty tough speech including this sentence, so long as any group within our nation full protection of the law, then lincoln's unfinished work is still unfinished. the memorial itself would be a symbol of ery, a hypocrisy unless we together can our national life
8:37 pm
in every state and in every things for which he died. the only problem was, unlike the white speakers, he had to submit speech in advance to the harding press office and they no intention had of allowing him to make that statement. he could either eliminate the passages or heaven forbid he talked about black rights, or he could retire from proceeding and they would not have an african-american speaker. so he, facing the prospect of losing the biggest white been able to d speak before, consented to the censorship. his speech was not fully printed for another 60 years and was not 75 years.for at the memorial itself. statue to resent the
8:38 pm
the nation. william howard taft that you see slimmer ght, a little than in his presidential day, the chairman of the commission to ented the sculpture warren harding and both talked reconciliation and not about racial conciliation. ow it would soften lincoln's anguish said harding, to know hat the south has come to realize that an assassin robbed and its most sincere potent friend, a jim crow version of reconstruction. defender it was an abject attempt to justify of apology, the greatest act of the greatest american freeing of the poor, helpless bondeman. nd it was perfectly pleasing, warren harding on the left, obert lincoln in the middle,
8:39 pm
and speaker of the house, then ex-speaker of the house uncle had reluctantly agreed to the site and was still around for the dedication. and there it was, a symbol, i reunification of virginia, withng the words of the gettysburg address and the second inaugural not the words ut of what lincoln said was his act, the emancipation. ust some further technical ingenuity by trench who gets enormous credit for conceiving the sculpture. unfortunately he did not live to transfiguration but he did know at night it was not visible. got g.e. to do a free study and they rehearsed lighting soured the that it glowed in the dark as it did in the day. it was still the white man's
8:40 pm
marble white tribute to abraham lincoln. that did not change for another 17 years. easter sunday, 1939. weeks before, marian anderson had been barred from the daughters of the american had ution where she contracted to give a concert. eleanor roosevelt intervened and burned the interior department her concert. and urged. and on easter sunday 25,000 gathered to hear her sing country tis" of thee and a few other selections. immediately the lincoln memorial was transformed into a drop for national aspiration. that same year, and we shouldn't film lightly, of
8:41 pm
james stewart, aka mr. smith, came to to washington, the memorial to gather inspiration for his new senate therefore, listened as a child, read the words of the and a man ofdress, color listened as well. streaming down his cheek. hat's a little bit of frank capracorn. he chipped in, with henry fading out asette in to the l fades hymn of f the battle the republic. june 29, he meeting, 1947, excuse me, the speaker is and again, the catalyst, second from the right n the front row, her head
8:42 pm
turned, is eleanor roosevelt, who had urged harry truman to pilgrimage and to speak. of ad just read the story the brutal beating and blinding isaac d war ii veteran woodard. the subject of a new book as ome of you may have seen recently. it inspired this one time, at casual racist from missouri. is letters are filled with expressions of racism, to rethink himself and rethink policy.n ultimately, to se designate agree gait the military but to peak here about freedom and equality for all. again, animated by this memorial then, had achieved truman and the civil rights shadow gathered in the
8:43 pm
of the lincoln memorial for the washington. and among those present, third from the left, is a very young congressman named john lewis, and, of course, from the right, in the front row are rory a. philipr. king, and randolph, who has a statue of washington. in from that moment, august 28, 963, would be "i have a dream speech," the lincoln memorial took on yet another meaning. not been a destination of reflection and aspiration until this moment. beginning with marian anderson but obviously a whole in level of meaning in 1963 which dr. king identified the ivil rights struggle with the emancipation proclamation moment of the century earlier. then it's inspired visits surprising,
8:44 pm
in 1961, idel castro, his thoughts impossible to penetrate. fan, by huge lincoln the way, there are a surprising umber of lincoln statues in havana, some of which he installed. nixon made a rd amous pilgrimage to meet demonstrators who had occupied the memorial to chant anti-war had a dialogue with them which is unrecorded, but hich must have been interesting. there he is with the protestors, saying, i oking and don't know how high are we, that to be here. i don't know. to sink in, le right? [laughter] >> more recently it's the back for the pre-inaugural ceremonies. it's the destination, almost a
8:45 pm
now for presidents, before they go the next day to be sworn in. we'll start with president visited the memorial many times. you know who know these folks are. the lincoln memorial also has suggest expressions of national concern, grief, this is famous 1963 cartoon about the nation mourning for fitzgerald kennedy. cartoons have proliferated of the lincoln memorial. go to symbol of the national mood. there are at least 20 -- cartoons on the occasion of the election of barack obama. and, no, it wasn't hard to find cartoon representation of the
8:46 pm
lincoln memorial following the election.dential the cartoonist was nice enough i show yous to me so my cartoon of the lincoln memorial after the election. [laughter] here's daniel chester french in visit to the lincoln memorial, an old man of about 80, who just stood there and said, isn't it beautiful? which is what robert lincoln continued to say all the days of life which lasted into the jazz age. on., you know, the work goes e're living in a golden age of lincoln sculpture. while we're appropriately lost cause memorials when they were built, what they represent, who were they frighten, and who they were supposed to assure,
8:47 pm
a renaissance in lincoln sculpture. up ptures are popping everywhere, and, there is dan again, but here's one that i you.d to show it's by my friend frank -- who i think is here tonight. there he is right there. few years ced this a ago. it was unveiled. the bronze was unveiled right historical new york society with a brief and and i'm exhibition, happy to say that it's now been the town o adorn square of lincoln argentina. the first city outside the for abraham named lincoln. so it will soon be shipped and soon be shown. so the lincoln legacy is perpetuated in art as surely as in history, and writing analysis and debate. i'm grateful for the memorials that still stand and thrive, and to end with one wonderful
8:48 pm
recollection that i'm very fond of. four years after it was and 13 years before marian anderson repurposed the a washington al bus boy, former historian part ant who had to work time as a restaurant bus boy, enrolle oon to alongside an aspiring attorney thurgood marshall in the all black college lincoln emerge as alater to social activist and a poet, memorial, asincoln i'm sure all of you had and have. langston hughes, nd this is what he wrote in 1926. true, then, true now, and it, true , as he put time.ll
8:49 pm
langston hughes wrote let's go old abe sitting in the marble and the moonlight, quiet 10,000 centuries, old aide. million, million years. quiet and yet a voice forever timeless walls of time itself. old abe. thank you. [applause] you.ank so i have been handed some questions. we have about 10 minutes. i'll be removed from the stage at the dot of 7:30. so did lincoln think about or about his legacy during his presidency? that's a very good question, and he did. as early as december 1862, two
8:50 pm
the emancipation proclamation in its final signed and delivered to the american people, he said history. escape we'll be remembered in despite of ourselves. think he understood from the minute he affixed his name that he would t, be enshrined in american memory the great hypocrisy that had stadium the founding, aboutere is a great story that moment. ou know he delayed the signing for hours, as abolitionists and peel of color gathered in the north.ound from midnight on, waiting for the decree to be communicated on and the reason is, and this is often not stated, because lincoln found a a typo but a t miss writing on the formal document and he wouldn't sign it it was perfect. sent it back, went to a new ear's reception, two hours
8:51 pm
shaking hands with diplomats and military leaders and then another two hours shaking hands the general public, who had just come in and he finally goes p at 3:00 in the afternoon, while people in the churches are probably on the 20th round of point, book that the not sure what had happened, and lincoln picked up a pen and then it down again. and the two or three witnesses in the room thought, maybe he going to do it. maybe it's too much. it was controversial. again and p his pen put it down. no one understood what was happening. and finally, lincoln looked up said, i have been sharing hands for four hours. left inlmost no feeling my hand. if i sign it now, my signature tremulous, and in a hundred years people will look think, he hesitated. if my name ever goes into istory, it will be for this act. it's the greatest act of the 19th century and then he just hand, and when he
8:52 pm
had the feeling back he wrote abraham lincoln in a fine hand said that will do. the irony is that it's all faded. don't have that parchment in a eligible way but he certainly thought from that moment that legacy would be different han when he began his presidency. what were the reactions to the esthetics of the memorial? was it well received in terms of its appearance? absolutely. reviewed in rave terms by everyone. particularly the new york herald had a very famous and maybe it helped write had been asked to the epithet in the back, and the abraham lincoln is enshrined forever. but it was absolutely, it did criticism that i have ever found. he epigraph did because it
8:53 pm
talked about the union and not emancipation. and the last few years have seen a ore mainstream reckoning with civil war memorials, that's for sure, giving the context of its do you and opening, think the lincoln memorial any way? altered in it has been. in one major way. from the stencilled words of the -- which i'm happy to the clinton-lincoln commission, we resten restencilled. ut the lincoln memorial was altered after the assassination of dr. king in 1968. was carved on the top step indicating that -- that dr. given his "i have a dream" speech on that spot. it is a minor change and, of
8:54 pm
course, now mr. rubenstein is an ainly bringing alteration. there will be a bookstore, rest visitors yearn for. and people will get to see the century that early 20th construction workers drew, those that we can show, in the underpart. lincoln has occupied a significant part of the american imagination for two centuries. 200 years from now? i don't know. you know, public statuary that we acknowledge hould survive, has a pouf impact. mean, there are four century old statues in europe. we mourned when the bombing on destroyed by the taliban because a great work of been destroyed because of a belligerent attitude about a different religion.
8:55 pm
hope it endures and i'm heartened and disheartened at when i see e thousands of people a day xperiencing the sculpture by taking selfies of themselves whatever, i say whatever it takes. did the former confederate respond to commemorate lincoln's death? by the early 20th century they ere sucked into the idea that lincoln was their best friend. he was not their best friend. am convinced he would have imposed a harsh, at least a fair reconstruction that would have he said, in his ast speech, the speech that john wilkes booth heard him deliver and that would be the last speech he ever made, he the process of black voting rights. although he said at the time, of here's a great example looking at history through the rong end of a telescope as my friend jim liked to say, let's the der giving the vote to
8:56 pm
colored race, that is, those who are very intelligent, and those fought in the army. now, anyone looking at that statement through the lens of 21st century would say, but he was the first american president to introduce black male suffrage, and for that, again, john wilkes that means negro equality. that's the last speech he'll ever make. f lincoln hadn't been assassinated, what -- do you think his memorial would have been different? you know, memorials, unanswerable, i guess, memorials in the first 25 years of lincoln's -- after lincoln's death were almost all about the proclamation. were all about lincoln as a liberator. only when we congealed the memory and allowed lost cause hold was take fuller lincoln portrayed by st. gardens
8:57 pm
others as an orchiator. and l know like the 1910s 20s were like. dixie-caats andt republicans had to unite to fund french had i then the last laugh because we can attach our imagineings about that n's determination to -sterious figure as have can anderson and so many others. o you still find yourself surprised by something -- something you have learned about him? yeah. all the time. it so much has made easier to get information, if you use it properly. you the i can't tell last surprising thing, but i guess my book about lincoln in
8:58 pm
yielded surprises at least for me, i hope for you, astonishing strangle hold on censorship and the press civil war. did marian lincoln play any role or erms of memorials paintings or was she not consulted? question, i always get a marian question. they wanted to build a memorial springfield right away and they told pari-lincoln what was in such protracted mourning that they thought she would be a pushover, they told her they it at the railroad station in springfield from which lincoln had departed to go washington in 1861, and it was going to be really good ecause they would build some hotels there and people could get off the train, buy a postcard, buy lunch and get back on the train, and we keep sweeping in the tourists, and what you think. he said, my husband and i
8:59 pm
helped found a rural cemetery at oakridge, just outside of town. of town.part idea lly believed in this of a cemetery like mount auburn in boston. like greenwood in brooklyn, and where he's going, and they said don't be silly. he can't possibly go to such a area with the statue that we have planned and she said, if he doesn't go there i'm taking to chicago, and she did serenity that in oakridge cemetery. lincoln r to think of as a refounding father, since he resided over the union's dissolution and eventual resignification? use that line? but now it's on c-span that i it.e to borrow that's a really terrific legacying of the lincoln
9:00 pm
and it absolutely true. lincoln was always aware of the and their thers accomplishments. in fact, as a young man, he was of his d that no man generation could ever equal their accomplishments. all the ivers and mountains and the country had already been named and there no opportunity to of as so he was thought his er founder, at assassination and i think he would have loved the idea of being a refounding father, and repeatedly for the rest of whatever days i have to talk about abraham lincoln it new ed right here at the york historical society. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] from george washington to george bush, we explore the
9:01 pm
politics, policies and legacies, you're watching american history tv, all weekend on ch span 3. advertise of pasadena. jackie is known for breaking the color barrier in major league mack was an accomplished track athlete. black ear about the celebrations. >> we're at the jackie robinson community center which is one of the centers that represents the family.n more in particular, jackie so there are a lot of things a lot of community part of that happens as his legacy and part of the reason why we celebrate black in the city of


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on