Lexington, Virginia • August 3, 2009
What are the lessons that Abraham Lincoln might be able to teach us today?
That is the question that a prestigious series of speakers from around the nation will consider at a conference, Lincoln for the Ages: Lessons for the 21st Century, which will be held at Washington and Lee University on Sept. 25-26 as part of the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln's birth.
The program opens with an address by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel at W&L. This talk is free and open to the public.
"This conference will focus on three elements of Lincoln's life and politics that deserve remembering not merely for the impact they had on his own time but also for the lessons they can teach us in the 21st century: namely, Lincoln's character, politics and war leadership," said Lucas Morel, conference director.
"Panelists will address contentious issues such as the role that race and religion play in the public sphere, whether ambition and partisanship can be channeled to the public good and how executive prerogative and war-time leadership can help or hinder the maintenance of liberty."
Associate Justice Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush and took his seat on October 23, 1991. He became the second African American to serve on the court following Thurgood Marshall, whom he replaced.
Born in the Pin Point community of Georgia, near Savannah, in 1948, Thomas attended Conception Seminary and received an A.B., cum laude, from Holy Cross College, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974. He was admitted to law practice in Missouri in 1974, and served as an assistant attorney general of Missouri from 1974-1977, an attorney with the Monsanto Company from 1977-1979 and a legislative assistant to former Missouri Senator John Danforth from 1979-1981.
From 1981-1982, Thomas served as assistant secretary for civil rights of the U.S. Department of Education and as chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1982-1990. He became a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1990.
Thomas is the author of the 2008 volume, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir.
The continuation of the conference on Saturday, Sept. 26, will feature three panels on aspects of the life and beliefs of Abraham Lincoln. The participants are:
• Michael Burlingame, the University of Illinois at Springfield
• Samuel Calhoun, Washington and Lee University School of Law
• Joseph Fornieri, Rochester Institute of Technology
• Dennis Foster, Virginia Military Institute
• Allen Guelzo, Gettysburg College
• Fred Kaplan, Queens College and Graduate Center--CUNY
• Benjamin Kleinerman, Michigan State University
• Thomas Krannawitter, Hillsdale College
• Lucas Morel, Washington and Lee University
• Mackubin Owens, Naval War College
• Matthew Pinsker, Dickinson College
• Steven Woodworth, Texas Christian University
The conference is sponsored by the Apgar Foundation, the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity and the politics department at Washington and Lee University.
For more information on Lincoln for the Ages: Lessons for the 21st Century, including the registration form for attending the two-day conference, see http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/news/ages.htm.