A traveling exhibit on Abraham Lincoln offers Denton residents a new view into the multiple constitutional crises that emanated from slavery and the Civil War.
Four large panels were installed at Denton’s South Branch Library, 3228 Teasley Lane, at the beginning of the month, along with a smaller installation at Emily Fowler Central Library, 502 Oakland St.
The exhibit will remain on view through Jan. 24. A series of lectures and a showing of the feature film Lincoln are scheduled to resume in January and will explore Lincoln’s presidency and the impact his decisions made on U.S. history.
Librarian Fred Kamman, who helped bring the exhibit to Denton, said the library was pleased with the attendance on the exhibit’s opening night. More than 40 came for a reception and lecture, he said.
Librarian Stacy Sizemore said that since opening day, visitors have responded well to the way the material is presented.
The panels use text and historic images, including a lithograph of the Emancipation Proclamation, to explore the way Lincoln used the Constitution to confront the three main crises of the Civil War era — the secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community. It allows us to give Denton citizens access to that kind of academic information, the kind that’s often available to college students that is not always available to the general public,” Sizemore said.
While Lincoln is popularly considered one of America’s greatest presidents, his historical reputation is contested. Some historians point to evidence that Lincoln was willing to accommodate slavery for political reasons while others call him a principled leader. The exhibit and lecture series help visitors broaden their view from this dichotomy, library officials said.
The panels were part of “Lincoln, the Constitution and the Civil War,” an exhibition created by the National Constitution Center and made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was organized by the American Library Association Public Programs Office and the National Constitution Center.
The exhibition came to Denton with a small grant from the endowment to help organize and publicize it, Kamman said.
A companion exhibit of political cartoons from the Civil War era that was planned for Emily Fowler Central Library got damaged in shipping, Kamman said. Instead, the library installed a panel exhibit on Frederick Douglass, “From Slavery to Freedom: the Journey to New York City.”
The library’s companion lecture series for the exhibit is supported locally by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. One lecture originally scheduled for Dec. 7 has been rescheduled for Jan. 24 because of the ice storm that hit in early December.
For more information, call the library at 940-349-8752 or visit www.dentonlibrary.com.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter @phwolfeDRC.
Lincoln exhibit, South Branch Library
A traveling exhibit on Abraham Lincoln is on display in Denton.
When: On view through Jan. 24 (with final lecture Jan. 25)
Where: South Branch Library, 3228 Teasley Lane
From Slavery to Freedom: the Journey to New York City
A companion exhibit on Frederick Douglass also is on display.
When: Through Jan. 24
Where: Emily Fowler Central Library, 502 Oakland St.
Jan. 11, 2 p.m. — Lecture, “Lincoln and Emancipation,” Richard McCaslin, University of North Texas professor, South Branch Library
Jan. 18, 2 p.m. — A showing of Lincoln, the 2012 movie about the president starring Daniel Day-Lewis, North Branch Library, 3020 N. Locust St.
Jan. 22, 7 p.m. — Lecture, “Lincoln and Civil Rights during the Civil War,” Gustav Seligmann, UNT professor, South Branch Library
Jan. 25, 2 p.m. — Lecture, “The Antebellum South’s Shifting Defense of Slavery,” D. Harland Hagler, UNT professor, South Branch Library
Programs for students
Jan. 10, 4 p.m., for ages 8-12 — “Lincoln and Log Cabins,” Emily Fowler Central Library
Jan. 15, 4 p.m., for ages 6-9 — “The Secret Codes of the Underground Railroad,” North Branch Library
Jan. 17, 5 p.m., for students in kindergarten through fifth grade — “Lincoln’s Favorites from the Farm,” South Branch Library