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September 10, 2008

Lincoln University of Pennsylvania’s Langston Hughes Memorial Library to host “Forever Free” traveling exhibition

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA ~ A new traveling exhibition opening in the Fellowship Hall of Lincoln University’s Mary Dod Brown Chapel on Thursday, October 2, 2008 traces Abraham Lincoln’s gradual transformation from an antislavery moderate into “The Great Emancipator,” who freed all slaves with a revolutionary war-time proclamation in 1863.  “Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation” will be on display at Lincoln University until November 14, 2008.  
Organized by the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York City, in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA), this traveling exhibition is made possible through major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, created by Congress and charged with planning the national celebration of Lincoln’s 200th birthday.  “Forever Free” draws upon original documents in the collections of the Huntington Library and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.  It was curated by John Rhodehamel, Norris Foundation Curator of American historical manuscripts at the Huntington Library.
“We are pleased to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Tracey Hunter Hayes, Director of the Langston Hughes Memorial Library. “The Civil War and slavery are topics which must constantly be revisited in order to help 21st century Americans better understand their causes and more clearly see how their effects are still with us today.  This exhibit offers our community an opportunity to learn more about how Abraham Lincoln decided upon emancipation of the slaves, even as he tried to hold together a fragile coalition of states in order to preserve the Union.  It is a revealing insight into the values, principles, and ideals that guided one of our greatest Presidents.”
Throughout his life, Lincoln’s dedication to the ideals of freedom and equality for all people did not waver.  “I want every man to have the chance—and I believe a black man is entitled to it—in which he can better his condition,” he said early in his political career.
Lincoln was also a pragmatic politician who believed that a direct attack on slavery in the South would split the Union and end America’s experiment in self-government.  He steered a middle course during the early years of the Civil War but became convinced that ending slavery would help the Union militarily.   Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation transformed the character of the war by re-committing the nation to its founders’ vision of freedom and equality for all people.
With additional support from friends in the community, the university is sponsoring a free opening program and reception.  Contact Special Collections Librarian Susan Pevar (484-365-7266 or spevar@lincoln.edu) for more information about this and other planned events and activities.

Founded in 1854, Lincoln University is a premier, historically Black University that combines the best elements of a liberal arts and sciences-based undergraduate core curriculum and selected graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly technological and global society.  The University is nationally recognized as a major producer of African Americans with undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences (biology, chemistry and physics); computer and informational sciences; biological and life sciences.  Lincoln has an enrollment of 2,423 undergraduate and graduate students.

Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
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