01/10/10 — Lincoln exhibit coming to Mount Olive College library

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Lincoln exhibit coming to Mount Olive College library

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on January 10, 2010 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- An exhibit telling the story of President Abraham Lincoln's decisions as a wartime leader and the evolution of his beliefs about slavery is coming this March to Mount Olive.

The Moye Library at Mount Olive College is one of 63 libraries in the country, and only six libraries in the state, selected to host the traveling exhibit, "Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation."

The exhibit includes reproductions of original documents and photographs in a series of panels that will fill both the upstairs and downstairs of the library central lobby, cataloguing librarian Cynthia Hughes said.

"Forever Free" is nearly 700 feet long, and takes approximately 20-40 minutes to view in its entirety, Ms. Hughes said.

The college is also supporting the exhibit with a series of special programs further examining the life of a man many Americans consider to be the greatest president, history department chairman Dr. Alan Lamm said.

"So many people here in this region know a lot about Jefferson Davis. Lincoln's the other guy, so here's a chance to find out about the other president," he said.

Several professors from various departments will contribute to a lecture series, which includes discussions of Lincoln's formative years through his time as a war leader.

"On paper, he was not the person you would want to be your war leader, especially compared to Jefferson Davis. Davis was a graduate of West Point, he had battlefield experience in the Mexican War. He was Secretary of War, they called it back then. So on paper, he was fantastic. Lincoln, minimum experience, militia, but he was self-taught, studied, and in the end, he turns out - most historians believe - to be the better, not only because we lost, but the better wartime leader," Lamm said.

The library first applied to host the exhibit in 2005, though the selection process as well as the nature of the traveling exhibit meant it took nearly five years before it came to Mount Olive.

"It's taken a while, because they have two copies of this exhibit. To go through 63 libraries, it just takes a while, and it took that long to get to us," Ms. Hughes said.

The college music department hopes to provide Civil War-era musical selections during the opening reception, which may also be accompanied by Civil War-era food, Ms. Hughes said.

A book discussion of "The Killer Angels," led by professor Linda Holland-Toll, and a talk on stories from the underground railroad presented by Meltonia Loretta Young are also planned as part of the program.

"It's been a collaborative effort from all departments in the college," Ms. Hughes said.

Local teachers are invited to bring their classes in to tour the exhibit. Some professors have volunteered to serve as guides to take groups through the display. Teachers are requested to contact the college ahead of time to allow for scheduling, Ms. Hughes said.

The "Forever Free" exhibit will open March 18, the weekend of the Battle of Bentonville reenactment, and will remain open until April 30.

The library is open seven days a week under regular operating hours.

The display was made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Abraham Lincoln Bicenten-nial Commission.