Much has transpired in our nation and our city since our last newsletter, a mere four weeks ago. In those short weeks loomed the specter of more violence in our nation’s capital, which thankfully never came to pass, a new administration that brought with it promises to combat the systemic racism inherent in our systems – a fight that is so important to our mission at the Cottage – and the grim reality of a single day peak of deaths resulting from COVID-19. They have been dark weeks, during which Abraham Lincoln and his words were offered up as reminders that, by and large, the challenges we face are not new.
Perhaps the most meaningful evocation to us at the Cottage came in President Biden’s Inaugural Address when he quoted Abraham Lincoln saying, “If my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act [the Emancipation Proclamation], and my whole soul is in it.” These words are permanently emblazoned onto the walls of President Lincoln’s Cottage in the room where Lincoln developed his ideas around the Proclamation. They remind us every day that the things we put our organizational soul in – the stories we amplify, the programs we offer, the renewed sense of civic responsibilities our visitors leave this place with – are public declarations of what matters to us. That’s a huge responsibility, and one we commit ourselves to anew as we begin our fourteenth year in operation this month.
January marks the beginning of the calendar year, but in many ways, we mark time at President Lincoln’s Cottage as it relates to February and all the opportunities this month brings to demonstrate some of what’s important to us: Black History Month, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and our anniversary of being open to the public. February also marks my first full month as Interim Executive Director. While this is a new role for me, I have worked alongside this amazing team for the past twelve years in our programs department, and I commit to bringing my love for this place, our people, and my whole soul to serve our community in this capacity.
Each year we partner with the Armed Forces Retirement Home to host a Black History Month program. This year’s specially recorded program will be created especially for our veterans on campus and focus on the national theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.
We regret that we will not be able to hold a program for the wider public. Here is a favorite memory from a past Black History Month program, when we hosted descendants of Solomon Northup for a special screening of “12 Years a Slave.”
Click here to watch the program online.
We recommend the following books to read this Black History Month. All are available from our store.
Join us virtually on February 11, 2021 at 7:30pm as we partner with the Folger’s Shakespeare Theatre for an evening of Lincoln inspired poetry. Renowned poets Tracy K. Smith and Maurice Manning will share their poetry exploring the life of Abraham Lincoln and the legacy of the Civil War.
Learn more here.
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.