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Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War Traveling Exhibition
Broward County > Library > Events & Classes

President Abraham Lincoln, Washington, D.C., November 8, 1863.
President Abraham Lincoln, Washington, D.C., November 8, 1863.
Image Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints 7 Photographs Division
EXHIBIT DATES
March 27 through May 1, 2012
Main Library, 6th floor • 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-357-7443

A series of programs to further enhance the discussion of the American Civil War will be held at the Broward County Main Library.

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 War is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

National Endowment for the Humanities logo   National Constitution Center logo   American Library Association logo   Friends of the Fort Lauderdale Libraries logo    
Broward Public Library Foundation logo

 Programs

African American family: African American soldier and family, circa 1863-65.
African American family: African American soldier and family, circa 1863-65.
February 28 - 6 to 7:30 p.m., Auditorium

Lecture and Movie: The Important Role of African Americans in the United States Military during the American Civil War and viewing portions of the movie Glory starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman

A dramatic account of the American Civil War’s first all-black regiment, led by an idealistic, privileged, northern white commander Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), fighting not only the enemy, but also convention and prejudice. This stunning drama is based on Shaw’s Civil War letters.

Professor Kisha King of Broward College will facilitate the discussion which will include viewing portions of the film Glory which tells the story of the brave men of the Massachusetts 54th regiment and the two enemies they faced – prejudice within the ranks of the Union Army and the Confederacy.

March to May – 6th floor

Civil War Exhibit from local Civil War Memorabilia Collector Bob Matis

Bob Matis will share his extensive display of both Union and Confederate artifacts, uniforms, documents and photographs. The exhibit features clothing, artwork, paperwork and the day-to-day items of the troops.

March 8 - 1 to 2 p.m., 6th floor

In Celebration of Women’s History Month
Lecture: The Florida Women’s Story during the American Civil War

Local history writer Mae Silver, author of Watch Out, Ivy: A Historical Narrative of Ivy Stranahan and Too Hot to Hide Remarkable Women of Fort Lauderdale,will present a lecture about the role that Florida women played during the American Civil War. Women nurses served in both Confederate and Union hospitals during the Civil War. Besides hospitals they also served near the fighting front and on the battlefield. These brave acts earned the women the gratitude and respect from the soldiers that they helped.

March 14 - 2 to 3 p.m., 6th floor

Lecture: Fort Jefferson, the Civil War military prison located at Tortugas National Park

Michele Williams, Ph.D., RPA, Director for the Southeastern Region of the Florida Public Archaeology Network at Florida Atlantic University will discuss historic Fort Jefferson. Built in the mid-1800’s, with over 16 million bricks, this is America’s largest coastal fort. Originally constructed to protect the important Gulf of Mexico shipping lanes, Fort Jefferson was used as a military prison during the Civil War. During this time, it was "home" to Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was convicted of complicity in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

March 21 – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., 6th floor

Re-enactment by local historians John, Robert and Cathy Feeney - The Civil War Life 150 Years Ago

Robert Feeney, a Civil War buff and his son Robert will be speaking as Civil War soldiers wearing authentic uniforms. Mrs. Feeney is dressed in period attire. The family has been re-enacting Civil War battles for 12 years, starting with the anniversary of the Battle of Manassas.

March 27 – Noon, gallery six, 6th floor

Opening of the exhibit: Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War

Using the Constitution as the cohesive thread, Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War offers a fresh and innovative perspective on Lincoln that focuses on his struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties.

March 27 – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., 6th floor

Opening Exhibit Lecture: The Personal Side of President Abraham Lincoln

Dr. Robert Watson of Lynn University will present the opening lecture. Dr. Watson will focus on the personal side of President Abraham Lincoln that covers his marriage, struggle with depression, family life with his children and how it impacted him during the Civil War.

March 29 - 2 to 3 p.m. Auditorium, first floor

Lecture and video: Music of the American Civil War

Local musicologist Charles Prentiss will present a fun program about the songs of the American Civil War and how important music was to the soldiers on both sides of the conflict. On the American Civil War battlefield, different instruments including bugles, drums, and fifes were played to issue marching orders or sometimes simply to boost the morale of one's fellow soldiers. Singing was used as a recreational activity and as a release from the inevitable tensions that come with fighting in a war. In camp, music was a diversion away from the bloodshed, helping the soldiers deal with homesickness and boredom. Soldiers of both sides often engaged in recreation with musical instruments, and when the opposing armies were near each other, sometimes the bands from both sides of the conflict played against each other on the night before a battle.

April 3 - 1 to 2 p.m., 6th floor

Lecture: “Crisis of Secession” and the “Crisis of Civil Liberties” during the American Civil War

Professors Gary Gershman and Tim Dixon of Nova Southeastern University will present a program encompassing the themes of the “Crisis of Secession” and the “Crisis of Civil Liberties.” The lecture/discussion will focus on the extra-Constitutional actions taken by President Lincoln [suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the use of military tribunals in some areas, blockade of the Southern ports], as well as to generally discuss Lincoln’s rejection of the Constitutionality of the act of secession. The professors will include in their discussion the manner in which the Congress and the United States Supreme Court dealt with Lincoln’s actions.

April 16 – 1 to 2 p.m., 6th floor

Book Talk: A Brief Guide to Florida’s Monuments and Memorials with author Roberta Sandler

Award-winning travel writer Roberta Sandler will present a book talk and power point about Civil War monuments and sites throughout Florida. Ms. Sandler will provide descriptions from her book that chronicle the sometimes hidden stories behind the monuments/memorials, including the person or the event honored as well as the process of erecting the monument or memorial. Books will be available for sale and signing.

April 19 – 1  to 2 p.m., 6th floor

Lecture: "Pride, Politics, and Prejudice: Jews and the American Civil War"

Scholar Eli Kavon will explore the role of American Jews in the conflict between the states. Topics to be explored are Abraham Lincoln and Jews in the Republican Party, General Grant's infamous order to expel Jews from Union territory, and the controversial life and career of Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State. Eli Kavon is on the faculty of Nova Southeastern University's Lifelong Learning Institute and teaches Jewish history for the Central Agency for Jewish Education of Broward County. His essays appear in The Jerusalem Report, the Zionist Journal Midstream, and The Jerusalem Post.

May 1 – 6 to 7:30 p.m., 6th floor

Closing Exhibit Lecture: The Legacy of President Abraham Lincoln

Dr. Robert Watson of Lynn University will present the last lecture of the series which will be about Lincoln’s legacy regarding whether America has lived up to the ideals Lincoln cherished and his challenge to the nation in both the Gettysburg Address and his second inauguration.

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“Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War”   

American Civil War family.
American Civil War family.

In recognition of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, Broward County Main Library presents a traveling exhibition; an exhibition of Civil War artifacts from collector Bob Matis; and a discussion and reading series with Civil War Historian Dr. Stephen Engle. Additional Main Library programs will enrich the discussion of the American Civil War, the deadliest war in American history. Professor Engle will explore the complex interplay between locality and loyalty that prompted the crisis, the changing nature of the Republic as a consequence of the war, and the enduring legacy of the Civil War on the generations that participated in the conflict and endured the Reconstruction that followed.

In collaboration with the traveling exhibition, the Broward County Main Library is hosting a five part reading and discussion series titled Let’s Talk about It: Making Sense of the American Civil War with Dr. Stephen Engle, Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Engle has written more than a dozen books on the history of the American Civil War. Let’s Talk about It: Making Sense of the American Civil War is made possible by a grant from the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

 The books that will be discussed in the series are:

  • March by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, 2006)
  • Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James McPherson (Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries, an anthology of historical fiction, speeches, diaries, memoirs, biography, and short stories edited by national project scholar Edward L. Ayers and co-published by NEH and ALA.
    Woman wearing mourning brooch, circa 1861-65.
    Woman wearing mourning brooch, circa 1861-65.

The books may be borrowed from Broward County Library locations. Register for the series at 954-357-7443.

The program is designed as a series of five conversations that will be led by Civil War Historian Dr. Stephen Engle of Florida Atlantic University. The discussions will explore different facets of the Civil War experience, informed by reading the words written or uttered by powerful voices from the past and present.

“After 150 years noted poet and author Walt Whitman would be flattered that we are still trying to make sense of ‘"the real" Civil War that he argued,‘ "would never get in the books," ’said Dr. Engle.

Dates and topics for the program series are:

Wednesday, March 28 - 6 to 7:30 p.m. Imagining War Geraldine Brooks, March [2005]
Wednesday, April 4 - 6 to 7:30 p.m. Choosing Sides

Selections from the anthology:

  • Frederick Douglass, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" [1852];
  • Henry David Thoreau, "A Plea for Captain John Brown" [1859];
  • Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address [March 4, 1861];
  • Alexander H. Stephens, "Cornerstone" speech [March 21, 1861];
  • Robert Montague, Secessionist speech at Virginia secession convention [April 1-2, 1861];
  • Chapman Stuart, Unionist speech at Virginia secession convention [April 5, 1861];
  • Elizabeth Brown Pryor, excerpt from Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through his Private Letters [2007];
  • Mark Twain, "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed" [1885]; and
  • Sarah Morgan, excerpt from The Diary of a Southern Woman [May 9, May 17, 1862]

Wednesday, April 11 – 6 to 7:30 p.m. Making Sense of Shiloh

Selections from the anthology:

  • Ambrose Bierce, "What I Saw of Shiloh" [1881];
  • Ulysses Grant, excerpt from the Memoirs [1885];
  • Shelby Foote, excerpt from Shiloh [1952];
  • Bobbie Ann Mason, "Shiloh" [1982]; and
  • General Braxton Bragg, speech to the Army of the Mississippi [May 3, 1862].
  • Ambrose Bierce, "What I Saw of Shiloh" [1881];
  • Ulysses Grant, excerpt from the Memoirs [1885];
  • Shelby Foote, excerpt from Shiloh [1952];
  • Bobbie Ann Mason, "Shiloh" [1982]; and
  • General Braxton Bragg, speech to the Army of the Mississippi [May 3, 1862].

Wednesday, April 18 – 6 to 7:30 p.m. The Shape of War

James M. McPherson, Crossroad of Freedom: Antietam [2002]

Wednesday, April 25 – 6 to 7:30 p.m. War and Freedom

Selections from the anthology:

  • Abraham Lincoln, address on colonization [1862];
  • John M. Washington, "Memory’s [sic] of the Past" [1873];
  • Frederick Douglass, "Men of Color, To Arms!" [March 1863];
  • Abraham Lincoln, letters to James C. Conkling [1863] and Albert G. Hodges [1864];
  • Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address [1863];
  • James S. Brisbin, report on U.S. Colored Cavalry in Virginia [Oct. 2, 1864];
  • Colored Citizens of Nashville, Tennessee, Petition to the Union Convention of Tennessee Assembled in the Capitol at Nashville [January 9, 1865];
  • Margaret Walker, excerpt from Jubilee [1966];
  • Leon Litwack, excerpt from Been in the Storm So Long [1979]; and
  • Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, 1865.

 

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