Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lincoln exhibit looks at Civil War era political cartoons

Interpretive panels look at Lincoln and the issue of slavery through the political cartoons of the Civil War era and particularly the 1860 presidential election.

The national traveling exhibition Looking at Lincoln: Political Cartoons from the Civil War Era will be on display at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn., now through March 30. Included in the exhibit is select editorial cartoons from the local Felsenthal Lincoln Collection. The exhibit is free and opens to the public Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

A special program on Abraham Lincoln will be presented Sunday, March 25, from 2-4 p.m. The program will include Lincoln's second inaugural address delivered by Ken Jones, Associate Professor of Biology at Dyersburg State College. Jones is widely known for his one-man portrayals of the sixteenth president.
Ken Jones, professor at Dyersburg State, will present his portrayal of Lincoln in a one-main show featuring Lincoln's second inaugural address Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m..

The exhibit, developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York, explores images, especially cartoons, as a way of investigating Lincoln in the context of his times. These cartoons are vividly biting; they invite us to put aside twenty-first century assumptions and look at events through the eyes of people living in the era. Among the highlights are: a California printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and political cartoons relating to the election of 1860.

The theme of the exhibition explores the Civil War and issues of slavery from the standpoint of political cartoons. These cartoons appeared in newspapers and were sold individually. Artists and citizens who created these images lived in a century in which racism was deeply ingrained in American life.

As a companion, the exhibit also includes editorial cartoons from the Felsenthal Lincoln Collection. These cartoons from the 1950s and 60s use Lincoln as comparison for current events of the day. Believed to be the largest individually owned collection of Lincoln memorabilia in the Southeast, the collection was donated to the citizens of Haywood County by Morton Felsenthal upon his death in 1983. Felsenthal spent his lifetime collecting books and memorabilia concerning Lincoln. Many of the original cartoons on display were signed by the artist and include personal notes to Felsenthal.

The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums located at Exit 56 off of Interstate 40 in Brownsville. For more information about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.