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Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Celebrates Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial
Contact: Martha Wiley, (606) 248-2817, extension 1051
This year marks the Bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, born on February 12, 1809 in relative obscurity in central Kentucky. He is arguably the most important President in the history of this nation by virtue of the crisis of disunion that faced him when he took office as the 16th President of the United States on March 4, 1861.
The National Park Service has the honor of preserving and managing several areas that are both directly and indirectly related to the life and Presidency of Abraham Lincoln – places such as the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky, Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois, and Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in Washington, D.C.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park also has the distinction of being associated with Abraham Lincoln – both his father and mother traveled through the Gap as small children with their parents in the late 18th century. To commemorate this historic journey and Lincoln’s formative years in Kentucky, the park is presenting “How the Challenges of Frontier Kentucky Life Shaped the Character of Abraham Lincoln,” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 1st, at the visitor center auditorium.
Sandy Brue, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Hodgenville, Kentucky, will give the program. “The program will discuss, with power point illustrations, specific Kentucky frontier life experiences of young Abraham Lincoln that influenced his later polices and politics,” she explained. “Recent research reveals that Abraham Lincoln was very interested in his family genealogy, planned to visit the family homeland in England after his presidency, and was profoundly influenced by the story of his Grandfather Abraham, his name sake, who was shot and killed by a Native American while our president's father, Thomas, watched. Young Lincoln was surrounded by slavery while living in KY and always held a hatred of it. From hard work to scholarship, Lincoln's life was a complex weave of experiences that molded him into the man who could hold the country together through the Civil War.”
In addition, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum will have a small exhibit in the second floor lobby of the park visitor center. Entitled “Mountain Fortress,” the exhibit will tell the story of the Civil War action in the Cumberland Gap and Lincoln’s interest in recognizing the loyal people of east Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky.
The NPS has developed a web site for the public that will help provide a better understanding and appreciation for Lincoln.
Log on to the “Celebrate the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s Birth” website to learn of the many special places managed by the National Park Service that commemorate the life of Lincoln. The web site includes information and web links to books, photographs and documents related to Lincoln, as well as a link to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Did You Know?
Kentucky’s Historian Laureate, Dr. Thomas Clark, listed Cumberland Gap as #1 in his list of 11 sites that every Kentuckian should visit. (Dr. Clark passed away on July 28th, 2005… just two weeks short of his 102nd birthday!)