National Lincoln Monument Association. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln: On the Fourth of July, 1865, in the Presidential Grounds, Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.: McGill & Witherow, Printers, 1865.
PHS Call number: PAM E 457.1 .N22 C4 1865
Source thumbnail image: Portrait of William Howard Day, c. 1870 (Wikimedia Commons)
The National Lincoln Monument Association aimed to commemorate the life of Abraham Lincoln through a permanent monument to the martyred president. Gathered together by Henry Highland Garnet (1815-1882), a prominent African American abolitionist and Presbyterian minister, the Association originally hoped to open a Washington, D.C. school for freedmen and their children that would honor Lincoln’s memory. The school never came to fruition, but the Association eventually organized and had built a small monument to Lincoln in southeast Washington, D.C., in Lincoln Park (the large monument with the seated statue and columned building in the Tidal Basin was built much later, finished in 1922). Included in the Celebration documents is a speech by William Howard Day (1825-1900), an editor and educator who became the first African American school board member and president in the United States. The speech was abridged and edited by association members.
1. Who is the author of this document? Who is the intended audience?
2. Why was the Fourth of July, 1865 a “memorable day” (page 3)?
3. What similarities are there between the letters sent to the association regarding the July 4, 1865 celebration of Abraham Lincoln? What differences are there?
4. What was “American despotism,” and what were the products of it (pages 14, 15)
5. Day’s speech is not reprinted in full, but is abridged and edited by members of the National Lincoln Monument Association. How reliable is this version of the speech? What may be gained or lost from the original speech?
6. What language do the authors use to describe Abraham Lincoln? What does this say about the Association’s attitudes toward the assassinated president?