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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Not to miss the point: Lincoln news coverage of Gettysburg

martinFACTS: Washington, 1963
As the nation this week recalls the historic 18 August 1963 march on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, The Washington Post reminds us that sometimes the press misses the point.
His speech was delivered on the landing 18 steps below Lincoln's statue.  There is now an inscription on the step where Dr. King stood, commemorating that historic event. (*)
November 19, 1863 At the dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg President Lincoln delivers a two-minute speech with his high-pitch voice. Immediately following the speech he calls it a "flat failure." The speech is known today as the Gettysburg Address.

VIDEO: Daniel Day-Lewis transformed into campaigning Abraham Lincoln... 

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The first news coverage of Gettysburg appeared in the Nov. 21 edition, the delay being caused by the difficulty getting home from Gettysburg on the trains, more of which in a moment.

The Gettysburg Address, Performed By President Obama

The newspaper's own news account of the proceedings focuses largely on the lousy train service to and from Gettysburg that left thousands stranded in Hanover unable - after traveling hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles - to attend the event. The same occurred on the trip back out of Gettysburg.
As the Patriot & Union reporter noted, 
"The amount of blasphemy manufactured at that little hotel was considerable."
But to the point - the newspaper's own reporter described the President's speech in Gettysburg like this:
"The President then arose and delivered the dedicatory address, which was brief and calculated to arouse deep feeling."

The Elusive Gettysbur_Newh.jpg
(a 1905 rendering) literally verbatim: those 'silly remarks'
TASK 1. 
READ your  copy of the Gettysburg Address to students and then let them follow along as they watch the Presidential Lincoln Library

     TASK 2. 
Now, SHARE the scores you gave the reenactment of the Gettysburg Address.Pass out “Retraction for our 1863 editorial calling Gettysburg Address ‘silly remarks’” resource to students and explain to students that not everyone always agreed that the Gettysburg Address was  one of the greatest speeches in the history of the United States.

TASK 3. 
100 years ahead. Read the original 1963 article, “A Voice from the Dead,” by the Patriot and Union Newspaper.

TASK 4. 
 What do you think of the criticisms from the article.
  • Were they right?

  • If wrong, how come they made that mistake?

  • How can we predict what speeches or events 

  • are going to become historical?

PS: Read the Museum’s reenactment of the Gettysburg Address (click on task 1)

Lincoln Memorial Approval and Construction
The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day—May 30, 1922.

Years in the making, the planning and building of the Memorial would end with soldiers and civilians from all sides of the Civil War together for the dedication ceremony—joined in peace as Lincoln had wished and fought for decades before.

(*) On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., made his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (the speech was delivered on the landing 18 steps below Lincoln's statue); there is now an inscription on the step where Dr. King stood, commemorating that historic event. Dr. King was speaking at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The March on Washington in 1963 brought 250,000 people to the National Mall

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