Birthday week has come to a close. We end our journey by celebrating Susan B. Anthony, born this day in 1820!
It’s birthday week here at the Historic America Journal - but not for me and Rachel. Instead, we’re looking to honor a trio of historic Americans with February birthdays. We begin the week with a real “A”-lister.
Abraham Lincoln (get it? … A-braham is an A -lister! amiright?!) came into the world on February 12th, 1809 in Hogedenville, Kentucky. Yes, he was ACTUALLY born in a log cabin. He’s also known for other exploits like the Emancipation Proclamation and shepherding the nation through a catastrophic Civil War.
For generations, Americans have been making a fuss about Lincoln’s big day. The very first commemoration of Lincoln’s birth was held in Buffalo, New York in 1874. It’s a strangely sweet story.
A local drugstore owner named Julius Francis was besotted with the memory of Lincoln, so he began holding an annual event to honor the Abe’s life & legacy. Francis went to great personal expense; he rented a hall, recruited the aid of speakers & musicians, and charged no admittance fee as he believed Lincoln’s memory was a gift every American should enjoy. He even tried lobbying Congress to create a federal holiday in Lincoln’s honor (you can read all about the story here).
In subsequent years, celebrations of Lincoln’s birth were often paired with commemorations of another February baby - Frederick Douglass. Ultimately these celebrations expanded and metamorphosed into February’s designation as Black History Month. In the 1960s, President’s Day was born - a fusion holiday celebrating the birthdays of both Lincoln & George Washington.
I know what you’re thinking, “How can I honor Abraham Lincoln today, on the 208th anniversary of his birth?” How about going to see his memorial? We’ve got just the tour …
After YEARS of anticipation I FINALLY got to see Hamilton on Broadway ⭐️ @hamiltonmusical is now also playing London, Chicago and out on tour! The show has recently become much more accessible, but it’s still really pricey! Did it live up to the hype?! Is it worth the extra coins to experience this show live?
Professor Jeanne Theoharis is referencing Baldwin’s ‘talk to teachers’ in the title of this necessary and timely book. “A More Beautiful & Terrible History” explores what the author refers to as the “national fable” of the Civil Rights Movement. She offers a fuller, more nuanced understanding that often stands in contrast to the popularized and watered down rendering of the same narrative.