Special Programs Honor African American History Month and Lincoln's Birthday
Press Release · Thursday, February 7, 2019

Washington, DC

To honor African American History month and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the National Archives presents three special public programs and a related document display. The programs will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C. and shown on the National Archives YouTube Channel. They are free to the public, but reservations are recommended and can be made online. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW.

Music in the Life of President Lincoln
Thursday, February 14, at 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater and YouTube (will be available after the event)
In partnership with the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, and with video clips of the orchestra projected on screen, a panel will discuss Lincoln’s musical tastes and the important role music played in his life during the Civil War. Robert Aubry Davis, host of Millennium of Music and WETA’s Around Town, will moderate a panel with: Christian McWhirter, Historian, Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; John Stauffer, Professor, Harvard University, and author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic; Elizabeth Smith Brownstein, author of Lincoln’s Other White House; and Betty C. Monkman, former White House Chief Curator and author of The White House: Its Historic Furnishings and First Families. Reserve your seat here. Presented in partnership with the Virginia Chamber Orchestra and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.

National Book Launch of Illusions of Emancipation: The Pursuit of Freedom and Equality in the Twilight of Slavery
Wednesday, February 27, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater and streamed live on YouTube
In Illusions of Emancipation, Howard University professor Joseph P. Reidy discusses how emancipation was not only a product of Lincoln’s proclamation or Confederate defeat; it was a process. Slavery did not die quietly or quickly, nor did it fulfill every dream of the enslaved or their allies. While it unfolded unevenly bringing drastic change, disorientation, and disruption, the former enslaved maintained the ideal that the struggle for freedom would result in victory. A book signing follows the program. Reserve your seat here.

Lincoln Memorial Tribute Program with Harold Holzer and Edna Green Medford - Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French, by Harold Holzer
Thursday, February 28, at 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater and streamed live on YouTube
To celebrate Lincoln’s birthday, Lincoln scholar and author Harold Holzer and Howard University Professor of History Edna Greene Medford will discuss the Lincoln Memorial and the artist who created the iconic statue of the 16th President, Daniel Chester French. Holzer will discuss his new book Monument Man, the first comprehensive biography of this fascinating figure and his career. The experts will explore the French’s life and his lasting impact on American sculpture, iconography, and historical memory.  A book signing will follow the program. Reserve your seat here.   Presented in partnership with the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.

Related Featured Document Display:  Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm: “Unbought and Unbossed”
East Rotunda Gallery, National Archives Museum, through April 3, 2019
To mark the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm’s historic entry into the U.S. House of Representatives, the National Archives will display her oath of office and a record from her service on the House Rules Committee.  In 1969, she became the first African American woman to serve in Congress. In 1972, she became the first woman and the first African American to seek the Democratic Presidential nomination. Made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation, through the generous support of The Boeing Company.


Related exhibit section in DC and online:
The “Records of Rights” permanent exhibit uses original documents, photographs, videos, and interactive exhibits to explore how Americans have worked to realize the ideals of freedom enshrined in our nation’s founding documents. A special section of this exhibit, “Bending toward Justice,” showcases the drive for civil rights for African Americans.

 See our special African American History web page highlighting National Archives’ resources

The National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, is Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station. For upcoming programs, visit the Calendar of Events online:


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This page was last reviewed on February 19, 2019.
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