On a warm Spring afternoon, friends and members of the Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc. of Gary, Indiana were greeted at the entryway to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library by its Executive Director, Alan C. Lowe, before being escorted to a secure Conference Room on the second floor of this marvelous and wondrous piece of architecture for a private viewing of President Abraham Lincoln and American Civil War artifacts.
The Foundation was in Springfield, the hometown of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America to dedicate a floral arrangement on the occasion of the 153rd anniversary of Mr. Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., while attending a live stage production of “Our American Cousin” on the evening of April 14, 1865. The bloodiest conflict in American history, the Civil War had officially ended only five (5) days before with a Union victory.
As a result, several years prior, more than 4 million enslaved Africans would gain their freedom with President Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. These enslaved Africans were able to taste freedom for the very first time in their lives.
On Saturday, May 19th, the descendants of enslaved Africans dedicated a floral arrangement in memory of President Lincoln for his great work in giving hope to all people regarding democracy in America as well as equal protection under the law. The Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc. in a brief ceremony remembered President Lincoln for his leadership during the American Civil War; the dedication of a National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the authorship of a Resolution, which would be adopted in 1865, in the form of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing legalized slavery.
Immediately after the conclusion of the “Lincoln Remembrance Floral Ceremony”, members of The Hall Foundation’s entourage traveled the short distance to the Presidential Library, which opened in 2005, exclusively dedicated to the life and times of President Lincoln.
The documents displayed at the private viewing changed the course of history for all persons living in America- both black and white. The Katie Hall Educational Foundation had the unique honor and opportunity to view up close- copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution- both documents contained the original signature of President Lincoln. These two (2) instruments would forever alter the legal status of enslaved Africans in America. As a point of reference, the original Emancipation Proclamation according to Executive Director Lowe was destroyed in a fire in Chicago during the late 1800’s. Moreover, the original 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is presently housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
The Katie Hall Educational Foundation saw 1 of 5 of the original copies of the Gettysburg Address prepared in President Lincoln’s own handwriting. This copy of the Gettysburg Address is known as the ‘Edward Everett’ copy so named after the famous 19th century American orator and politician. Mr. Everett delivered a two (2) hour speech at the Dedication Ceremony of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.
In selecting the artifacts for The Katie Hall Educational Foundation to view, Chief Operating Officer Michael Little of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum presented to the Special Guests for the afternoon- the blood stained white fan Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln dropped on the floor of the Presidential Box at Ford’s Theater after Presidential Lincoln was shot on the evening of April 14th; the sewing box belonging to Mrs. Lincoln; and the all-time favorite symbol of the Lincoln Presidency- the famous stovepipe hat worn by Mr. Lincoln while touring Union lines, his attendance at social events in Washington, D.C.; and as an ordinary citizen and lawyer riding the circuit in central Illinois.
The Katie Hall Educational Foundation toured the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum at the conclusion of the “Lincoln Tomb Remembrance Ceremony” and the private viewing of artifacts relating to the Lincoln Administration and the American Civil War.
Junifer Hall, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the Katie Hall Educational Foundation stated, President Lincoln was a brave American and a compassionate humanitarian in his tireless pursuit to preserve the United States of America as one nation, and for providing millions of enslaved Africans with freedom and the opportunity for a better life for themselves and their offspring.” Ms. Hall went on to say, “President Lincoln with a stroke of a pen gave the gift of freedom to people, who had endured the brutality of psychological degradation and slavery; and, in congruence, President Lincoln, due to his mental brilliance paved the way for Democracy to be enjoyed by all American citizens even into the 21st century, and beyond into the future.”