Historian talks about Abe Lincoln
Want to learn more about our distinguished President Abraham Lincoln? Want to hear it from a quintessential expert?
Then head over to the Shipyard Marina Boathouse tomorrow, Sunday, February 15th at 4pm! (13th and Sinatra)
“Lincoln and the Right to Rise”: Historian Talk
No U.S. president has inspired as much research and ink as Abraham Lincoln. His personal biography, his leadership during the nation’s most dangerous national conflict, his tragic assassination, his eloquent speeches and writing – any of these alone distinguish him as a figure worthy of so much study.
Among all the fascinating possibilities, Frank Coburn, former curator and director of the museum at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., was most inspired by the great man’s writings on the promise of the Declaration of Independence, which Lincoln felt granted all men the “right to rise” to their full potential, regardless of their origins. The Hoboken Historical Museum is bringing Coburn to the Shipyard Marina boathouse on the 13th St. pier on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m., for a talk in honor of Lincoln’s birthday (Feb. 12).
It was a happy accident that drew Coburn into such an intense relationship with the 16th president. He transferred to the small liberal arts college in East Tennessee to study history and math to become a schoolteacher, and took a part-time job working in the museum, which houses one of the largest collections of Lincolniana in the world. Just before he was to begin his student teaching, the job of full-time curator and acting director opened, and he jumped at the chance to stay on while he finished a Master’s degree in history.
For the next eight years, Coburn spent eight hours a day, five days a week, immersed in Lincoln’s writings, attending academic conferences on Lincoln, conducting tours, and giving talks. He frequently fielded calls from other researchers on many controversial theories about aspects of Lincoln’s life and his assassination, but Coburn’s interest was drawn more to Lincoln’s intellectual struggle with the promise of equal opportunity in the context of his own background and the views dividing the country.
Lincoln’s father had worked for a time in coal mines alongside slaves whose owners collected the wages for their work, which informed his argument in the famous debates with Stephen Douglas that slavery is not just morally wrong, but also that no man should profit from another’s labor, according to Coburn.
In recent years, Coburn’s career has taken another sharp turn, albeit one he finds just as intellectually stimulating. He has become a Methodist pastor, and currently serves a congregation in Wenonah, N.J., near Philadelphia.”