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Marking Abraham Lincoln’s 212th birthday, Roosevelt House presents a live Zoom discussion featuring four of the prominent historians who will be featured on-screen in the new, six-part CNN documentary series Lincoln: Divided we Stand, premiering Sunday, February 14, at 10 PM ET. Also joining the panel will be the film’s executive producer.
Lincoln—his words, his life story, his achievements, and his flaws—has re-emerged in recent weeks as a powerful force in American culture: quoted by Republicans and Democrats alike on the House and Senate floors in the aftermath of the January 6 U. S. Capitol riot, and then quoted again by President Biden in his inaugural address on January 20.
This follows a year of unprecedented challenge to Lincoln’s longstanding reputation as the greatest American president—who saved the Union and propelled the destruction of slavery. Yet last summer, several Lincoln statues were defaced, removed from public view, and even toppled.
What can we make of—and learn from—the Lincoln legacy in the 21st Century? What were his true views on slavery and race? How did he perpetuate—or limit—democracy? What are the lessons to learn from Lincoln’s own rise from poverty and obscurity? Where do his writings rank in the lexicon of American literature? Why does he still remain an inspiration for American leaders and readers?
All these issues will be explored in depth in the Lincoln series on CNN. On February 12, join some of the featured scholars to hear a preview of their views—and to ask questions of your own.
John Avlon, senior political analyst for CNN (where he does the daily “Fact Check” report on New Day), is the author of Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations and the forthcoming book Lincoln’s Farewell.
Sidney Blumenthal, who served as a Clinton White House advisor, is author of the multi-volume biography The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, which includes: A Self-Made Man, 1809-1849; Wrestling with His Angels, 1849-1856; and All the Powers of Earth, 1856-1860.
Edna Greene Medford, Deputy Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor of History at Howard University, is the author of Lincoln and Emancipation and co-author of Emancipating Lincoln: Three Views. She was also Director of History at New York’s African Burial Ground project.
Jon Hirsch, executive producer of Lincoln: Divided We Stand, has developed, produced, and directed critically acclaimed documentaries for CNN, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, A&E, and HBO, where he created Sports of the 20th Century, 24/7, and Hard Knocks.
Harold Holzer, moderator, is the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of Roosevelt House at Hunter College, and the author of 55 books on Lincoln and the Civil War, including Lincoln and the Power of the Press (2015 Lincoln Prize), and most recently, The Presidents vs. the Press.
This event will be held online via Zoom.