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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A not so obvious source...

The other day I was thinking about Abraham Lincoln as it was the 200th anniversary of his birth. My mind wandered to the fact that it is also Black History Month and that Abraham Lincoln could be considered a significant figure in American black history. So, I decided to run a search on him in the Facts on File African-American History Online database. There were over 200 results – some more relevant than others. One of the primary sources that I found particularly interesting was the "Correspondence between Abraham Lincoln and the Workingmen of Manchester, England." According to the entry, this is a:
Letter addressed by workers of Manchester, England, to President Abraham Lincoln, praising his Emancipation Proclamation. English working classes, which were opposed to slavery as a blot on free labor and civilization, sympathized with the Union in America's Civil War, thereby forming a counterweight in British politics to upper- and commercial-class sympathy for the Confederacy.
His response to them is included and both are intriguing, almost as much for the style of writing as for the content.
After this success, I tried Robert Kennedy as my next search with over 100 results. The results included such things as the text of his announcement after Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated as well as video clips of that time.
Finally, to use the database in a more traditional way I tried Magic Johnson (someone had been in for a biography of him last week) and of course, Barack Obama. Both searches supplied plenty of information for a child writing a report demonstrating this database might be just the thing when your library no longer has anything on a not-so-current athlete, or everything on a big name is checked out.

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