To the editor:
This letter is a follow-up to LDN's Friday feature
story about the 1858 Abe rally-speech re-enactment set for Thursday,
Oct. 16, in downtown Lincoln. I have a suggestion that is guaranteed
to increase attendees' understanding and appreciation of this truly
remarkable, dramatic event in the history of the first Lincoln
namesake city. (See
I make this suggestion based on a simple but very effective
technique I learned to use in teaching high school English for 30
years. I often used film as a way to teach literature, and I
discovered that students always got more out of the film if they
first read the story, novel or play the film was based on -- or at
least read key parts.
Accordingly, before you attend the re-enactment, I urge you to
read the play script for this event, which I researched, wrote and
donated to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln,
Illinois. In its June 2008, meeting, the commission stated its
intention to place this script in the Lincoln Public Library so that
interested people could read it.
I am not sure how closely the re-enactors will follow this
script, but reading it will provide insight into Abe's typical
exchanges with members of the audience, his humor and the arguments
he used against slavery and his Senate-race rival, Stephen A.
Douglas -- The Little Giant. I have made a PDF copy of this script,
including sources, available online on the commission's Web page at
Darold Leigh Henson, Ph.D.
Professor emeritus of English
Missouri State University, Springfield
Honorary member of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of
October 11, 2008]
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