Two prominent state legislators, Democrat Litesa Wallace of Rockford and Republican Tim Butler of Springfield will be featured panelists when the fall “Learn from Lincoln, Live Like Lincoln,” lecture series kicks off Sept. 6.
The Lincoln Heritage Museum is again teaming up with the Abraham Lincoln Center for Character Development at Lincoln College to host the lecture series for 2018. The event will begin at 5:30 pm at the Johnston Center for Performing Arts on the Lincoln College campus. It is free and the public is encouraged to attend and participate.
This year’s lecture series is themed “Responsible Citizenship,” which coincides with the special exhibit on Lincoln and citizenship, currently on display at the Lincoln Heritage Museum.
“Being informed and involved is one of the most important things we do as citizens to maintain our democracy,” said Rep. Butler. “I look forward to an interactive discussion and a great evening discussing the need to have engaged citizens.”
“President Lincoln spent the bulk of his political career in the Illinois House. His portrait hangs in the House chambers today and serves as a constant reminder of his own roots as a state legislator. Lincoln was a superb politician, who was well-versed in the art of negotiation and compromise but never lost his moral compass,” Wallace said. “The character traits that Lincoln embodied are as relevant today as they were in Lincoln’s time.”
The Lincoln Heritage Museum’s September lecture series event and a November panel to follow, will revolve around the principle of responsible citizenship and the role that average citizens can play in the societal and political process, and the necessity of citizen engagement to the continual progress of our country. The ever changing definition of citizenship as well as the challenges facing citizens in this state and across the nation will be also explored.
“We are offering this speaker series to highlight the role that each American citizen plays in developing their community in the effort to make it better just like Abraham Lincoln did in Springfield in the 1840s and 1850s,” said Anne Moseley, Lincoln Heritage Museum director. “As a citizen, Lincoln went beyond himself serving as a state representative and Springfield town trustee to make the place he lived better.”
Rep. Wallace has represented the Rockford-based 67th district since her appointment in July 2014. She was a candidate for Illinois lieutenant governor in the 2018 Democratic primary alongside State Senator Daniel Biss, before he lost the party’s March primary. A former educator and child counselor, Wallace has championed, among other issues, mental health services for children, more protection for child abuse victims, and economic justice.
Rep. Tim Butler’s 87th district of central Illinois includes Logan County as well as Springfield. He has served in the Illinois House since 2015. The district covers much of the same territory which Abraham Lincoln also represented in the Illinois House in the 1830s and 1840s. Butler’s career in public service has included serving in the staff of both Congressman Rodney Davis and Congressman Ray LaHood. Butler has advocated causes including promotion of historic sites and tourism, transportation, and agricultural issues.
Noting that several of the discussions will feature elected officials, Moseley remarked that “interaction and communication with elected officials is also a responsibility of us as citizens. We have to be informed about what they’re doing, and inform them about what we want.”
The theme of citizenship is carried through the special exhibit at the Lincoln Heritage Museum in 2018. On display are items relating to Lincoln as a citizen including a document relating to his Black Hawk War experience, surveying equipment like that Lincoln used, and a check for his service as an Illinois state legislator.
“Considering that Abraham Lincoln began his political service as an Illinois state representative, it is fitting to have two state representatives on our panel, who like Lincoln, were knowledgeable and interested in history,” remarked Moseley.
The series co-sponsor, the Abraham Lincoln Center for Character Development, began its operations at Lincoln College in 2016. The center, located in the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to being a catalyst, resource center, and national leader for character development initiatives. One of the character pillars the center emphasizes is that of citizenship.
More information on the November lecture series event will be announced closer to the date.
The 2018 installment of the Learn from Lincoln, Live like Lincoln lecture series has the endorsement of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, which is celebrating the 200th anniversary of statehood this year.
The general public is encouraged to attend all of the series, and admission is free. For more information visit https://museum.lincolncollege.edu or call the museum at 217-735-7399.