Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Teachable Moment: Learning About Lincoln

Spielberg's 'Lincoln' is a great resource to feel as well as understand Lincoln.
It is always an important moment to learn about Abraham Lincoln. But Steven Spielberg has brought him to current prominence in a huge manner, much like Ken Burns did in the 90's with 'The Civil War' documentary.

These are incontrovertible facts about Lincoln: he was born into extreme poverty in Kentucky during the formative years of the US; he was a pioneer boy, self taught--reading, too-- in Indiana.  He lost his mother at an early age, and revered her input into his life. He was highly intelligent and motivated, becoming a successful pioneer lawyer in the early days of Illinois. He could read people. He had a conscience based on his morality. He was courageous. Did he have flaws? Of course. He retained a bias against Native Americans but continued to be willing to risk everything due to his belief that all men are created equal.

What a time to be a hero! An American period raw with passion, polarization, and violence. Kind of sounds like now.

Here are links that will help teachers put together pertinent information on Lincoln.
Movie Review: Lincoln 

I love American Rhetoric. Of course, there is not a recording of his voice, but you can find excellent actors reading his eternal speeches. Then you could compare them to Daniel Day-Lewis' interpretation. And you know I'll be reminding you to listen to FDR's 'Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself' speech on Dec. 7.

1.  American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States
I'm thinking you can find these in the library, but don't tell I said so,



Doris Kearns Goodwin is the author of Team of Rivals, the basis of Spielburg's film and Barrack Obama's cabinet (he says the book inspired him.) Henry Louis Gates is a highly respected author and filmmaker who recently has specialized in helping folks find their genetic roots and family history and making documentaries, such as African American Lives. I can't imagine a better team for this assignment. Check it out.

Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his Lincoln books. It is great history with a poetic flair every so often.

 Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years: Carl ...

For the upper grades:

Abraham Lincoln 

Thank you, Poetry Foundation, again, for having such wonders convenient and waiting.

Walt Whitman

Here are only two poems about Lincoln, both by Walt Whitman.

O Captain! My Captain!

By Walt Whitman 

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

By Walt Whitman 

Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln freed all Americans, including those in the future. A free and appropriate education for all, including the handicapped. Voting rights, even for women. Equal pay for equal work. Freedom to be who you are, and the right to say it.

The Civil Rights Movement is still moving because of Lincoln; let's keep in step. 




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