FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2009
Office of College Communications
WENHAM, MA--Abraham Lincoln came into office when the nation was in a state of crisis, but he acted quickly and decisively, inspiring millions from that time forward. As one campaign song from 1860 said, "Hurrah for the choice of the nation. Our chieftain so brave and so true, We'll go for the great reformation, For Lincoln and Liberty, too!"
As the country prepares to remember Lincoln's bicentennial birthday, Gordon College and the Gordon College Institute for Public History will commemorate the event at Salem's Old Town Hall in Derby Square on Friday, February 13th, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. This birthday celebration--called "For Lincoln and Liberty, too!"--will include a public unveiling of an historic 1864 hand-painted campaign banner, period music, and a speech from President Lincoln himself. Educational panels about Salem during the Civil War will also be displayed. Local actor John Sarrouf as Abraham Lincoln will meet visitors and members of the 2nd South Carolina String Band will perform Civil War-era songs. The event--which includes birthday cake--is free and open to the public.
"In light of the challenges facing our country, we wanted to celebrate the life and achievements of a president who transformed our nation and left a legacy of liberty enjoyed by all American citizens today," said David Goss, associate professor of history and co-director of Gordon's new Institute for Public History. "A part of this celebration will be the first public viewing of a recently discovered Lincoln campaign banner from the 1864 election. We hope our friends on the North Shore will join us in remembering the many accomplishments of the Lincoln presidency."
Goss and Cliff Hersey, director of Gordon's Global Education Office, discovered the historic campaign banner at the Second Church of Dorchester in Boston, headquarters of the Gordon in Boston academic program. The 20 ft x 36 ft hand-painted campaign banner was originally displayed in Dorchester during the 1864 presidential campaign, suspended across Washington Street between two large trees. The banner bears the names of the two Republican presidential running mates "Lincoln and Johnson" along with Andrew Jackson's motto, "The Union Must and Shall Be Preserved." Gordon College will offer the first formal public viewing of this banner to coincide with Lincoln's 200th birthday.
Gordon College President R. Judson Carlberg and Provost Mark Sargent will host an (invitation-only) evening event Friday, February 13, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Guests will include members of Salem city government as well as friends and their families from the Salem and North Shore communities who partner with Gordon's Institute for Public History. Sarrouf will perform as Lincoln and will be joined by re-enactors from the Salem Light Infantry (also known as the Salem Zoaves), David Goss, assistant professor of history and Robert Kilham of the nationally known, 2nd South Carolina String Band, as well as the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers. Birthday cake and New England Cider will also be served.
For more information on the 1864 campaign banner, on either celebration of "For Lincoln and Liberty, Too!" or on Gordon College's Institute for Public History, please contact the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4235.