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Gettysburg College to join community in commemorating Dedication Day on Nov. 19

Highlights include Cemetery commemoration, Fortenbaugh Lecture and Shaara Prize

On Nov. 19, the 149th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg College will join with community partners to recognize Dedication Day 2012. A number of events are planned throughout Gettysburg to commemorate the historic occasion.

Dedication Day program featuring filmmaker Steven Spielberg at Soldiers’ National Cemetery

The Dedication Day program will take place Nov. 19 at Soldiers’ National Cemetery, located along Taneytown Road. It begins with a 9:30 a.m. wreath laying ceremony at Soldiers' National Monument. The ceremony, with speakers including Steven Spielbergfilmmaker Steven Spielberg (pictured left, director and producer of the new film Lincoln – in theaters Nov. 16) begins at the Cemetery’s Rostrum at 10 a.m.

Previous speakers include Harry Truman, Colin Powell, Sandra Day O’Connor, Tom Brokaw, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ken Burns.

The Lincoln Fellowship in conjunction with Gettysburg College, Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation sponsors the event.

The program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and the public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at Gettysburg College’s Ballroom, located in the College union building along W. Lincoln Ave.

Fortenbaugh Lecture and Shaara Prize

Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater will host the 51st Annual Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Steven HahnSteven Hahn (pictured right), professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, will present, “The Dimensions of Freedom: Slave, Emancipation, Indian Peoples, and the Projects of the New American State.” The lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Gettysburg College’s Civil War Institute and Department of History.

Hahn received the Pulitzer for his work on African American politics in the South, and is a leading scholar of African American history and black freedom struggles.

In addition to the lecture, the $5,000 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction will be awarded to Sharon Ewell Foster (pictured below) for her book The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses, A Novel.

Sharon Ewell Foster As noted by the jury that selected this year’s Shaara Prize, “Foster tells the story of the 1831 Virginia slave uprising led by Nat Turner in the voices of multiple characters, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nat Turner, his mother, and the woman who kept him as a slave. Foster renders these voices masterfully, allowing readers to inhabit fully each character's life circumstances and state of mind. Moving and profoundly humane, the novel is a riveting account of crucial events on the timeline toward Civil War.”

Prior to the lecture and awarding of the prize, a book discussion will be held on Hahn’s book The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom (Nathan I. Huggins Lectures) Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. The discussion is free and open to the public, and will be held in Breidenbaugh Hall, located at the intersection of North Washington Street and Lincoln Avenue. Books are available for purchase at the College’s Bookstore.

About the Fortenbaugh Lecture

The lecture was sustained during its first two decades by an endowment contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Clyde B. Gerberich of Mt. Joy, Pa., in honor of Fortenbaugh, who taught history at Gettysburg College from 1923 until his death in 1959. The endowment has been substantially supplemented by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harry D. Holloway Fund and Helwett Foundation. Bruce Catton delivered the first Fortenbaugh Lecture in 1962. He was followed by, among others, David Herbert Donald, John Hope Franklin, David Brion Davis, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., C. Vann Woodward, Eric Foner, John Keegan, Drew Faust, Jean H. Baker, Ira Berlin, and Gary Gallagher.

About the Shaara Prize

The Michael Shaara Prize was established in 1997 by Gods and Generals author Jeff Shaara, and is named in honor of his father, author of the novel The Killer Angels. The prize, administered by Gettysburg College, honors a novel about the Civil War and encourages fresh approaches to Civil War fiction.

Find out more about last year's Dedication Day commemoration.

About Gettysburg College and the American Civil War

These events are part of Gettysburg College’s American Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration. The College will sponsor events and programs throughout the anniversary that runs from 2011-15 with special focus on 2013, which marks the 150th anniversary of the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Gettysburg, and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. For more information, visit www.gettysburg.edu/cw2013 and www.gettysburgcivilwar150.com.

Gettysburg College (then known as Pennsylvania College) played a vital role in the Civil War, with more than 200 alumni serving the Union or Confederacy, and the College’s Pennsylvania Hall functioning as an observation post and hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg. On Nov. 19, 1863, College students and faculty processed to hear Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address at the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Earlier in the year, an 1851 graduate of the College, prominent attorney David Wills, had invited Lincoln to deliver “a few appropriate remarks” at the cemetery’s dedication. Lincoln stayed with the Wills family on the square the night before delivering his famous speech.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Mon, 12 Nov 2012

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