Short Takes

As part of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the Chicago History Museum will be showcasing one of five genuine handwritten copies of the Gettysburg Address.

Marking the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth this year, the Chicago History Museum will host a version of the Gettysburg Address handwritten by the president, one of only five copies known to exist.

The museum will exhibit the page and a half speech — which begins with the now-famous “four score and seven years ago” — from April 1 to May 30.

This version of the 1863 speech that Lincoln delivered at the Gettysburg, Pa., Civil War battlefield is known as the Everett copy, produced in 1864 for politician Edward Everett.

Owned by the State of Illinois, it was purchased in 1944 after schoolchildren raised $40,000 in pennies and department store tycoon Marshall Field IV donated $24,000.

In other news, Civil War News reports an incident that I am ashamed to say happened right here in my home state of North Carolina. This summer an SCV member, Basil C. Childress, was actually arrested at a Wingate Inn in Concord, NC, for criminal trespass. His crime? Hanging a Confederate flag in his room so it could seen from outside, this during a sponsored SCV convention in the hotel!

The front desk clerk called and demanded (not asked) that he remove it because this was a “sensitivity issue.” Childress refused. This was followed by a call from the manager, Garrett Jenio, who reiterated the demand. Eventually Joel Griffin, one of the Wingate’s owners, showed up at Childress’s room and threatened to call the police which, after Childress’s continued refusal, he did. The officer arrived and arrested Childress (but did not, I am happy to say, handcuff him).  He was booked and released, and stayed elsewhere. The hotel charged his card for all four nights. The charges have now been dismissed after the Wingate people failed to show for two hearings. To date Childress has gotten no apology and is disputing the charges on his credit card.

I’m no flag waver, Confederate or otherwise, but personally find this sort of behavior outrageous and disgusting. I plan to boycott Wingate Inns and the Wyndam Hotel Group in general, and urge everyone else to do the same.

In a similar vein, Johns Hopkins University has refused to rent a room to participants of the annual Lee-Jackson Birthday Ceremony primarily, it seems, because they don’t want the Confederate flag on campus. The actual ceremony, which features Union and Confederate reenactors, takes place off campus in a park with statues of the two generals. The room, which is about 200 yards away on campus, is rented for participants to warm up and enjoy refreshments.

Several years ago, when the controversy over the Confederate flag hit the big time, critics were quick to assure everyone that they only objected to the flag being used in a semi-official status, such as flying over the SC capitol, and there would never be any objection to private or historical use. That was then. Now, one risks falling foul of self-appointed sensitivity police just about everywhere. If someone had told me even a few years ago that you could be arrested in North Carolina for displaying the Confederate flag I would have laughed at them.

A while back I got a UDC newsletter in which one of the ladies wondered aloud how long it would be before they had to have their meetings in secret. Now I’m wondering too.


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