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Lincoln and the Problem of Freedom Program at UU Celebrate the President’s 205th Birthday iCal

Wednesday, February 12 2014 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

URBANA, Ohio (February 6, 2014) - The public is invited to a free lecture, “Lincoln and the Problem of Freedom,” presented by Dr. J. Michael Rhyne on Wednesday, February 12 at 12 noon in the Swedenborg Memorial Library on the Urbana University campus, 579 College Way.  The event is being held on the 205th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and will include free birthday cake.  Participants are invited to bring their lunch with them.

From early in the American Civil War, slaves began efforts to liberate themselves by fleeing to Union lines. This fugitive slave crisis forced President Lincoln and Congress to do something, initially in the form of the 1st and 2nd Confiscation Acts. Still, pressure mounted on the President to do more, and so in September 1862 he issued a presidential ultimatum to the rebels.  The southern states were told that continued rebellion would result in the forfeiture of slave property, with the slaves to be emancipated as of January 1, 1863. But emancipation was only the first step in securing the liberty of the nearly 4 million persons held in bondage in the United States in 1860. Everyone in the country had to grapple with the question” would these former slaves face the same legal and political restrictions as free blacks continued to suffer?”

Dr. Rhyne says, “My talk will explore the problem of freedom as a concept, the process of emancipation as it played out in the United States, and Lincoln’s personal struggles, not so much with abolition of slavery but with the concept that former slaves, for their own protection and wellbeing, would have to be integrated somehow into American society and even the body politick.”

Dr. Rhyne is an Associate Professor of History at Urbana University.  He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Cincinnati, where his major area of concentration was American history. His dissertation focused on emancipation in Civil War Era Kentucky, and he has published several scholarly articles on this subject. His monograph,” ‘Terror is at Hand’: Race, Violence, and the Law in Post-Emancipation Kentucky,” is under advance contract with Southern Illinois University Press.

The University is currently hosting the national traveling exhibit, Abraham Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War which examines Lincoln’s interpretation of the Constitution during a time of national upheaval.  For details about other events associated with the free exhibit, see the website http://www.urbana.edu/resources/community/Lincoln2014.html.  The exhibit will be open in February Monday – Thursday 8 am – 10 pm; Fridays 8 am – 4 pm; Saturdays 12 noon – 4 pm; and Sundays 7 pm – 10 pm.  If the University is closed due to severe weather, the exhibit will also be closed.  For up-to-date information about University closings, please call 937-484-1388 or visit the web site at www.urbana.edu .

Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War,a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.   Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil Waris based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

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