North Carolina is joining the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in making an appeal to the children of America for Lincoln pennies to help the children of Haiti. The year-long celebration of Lincoln’s 200th birthday ends Friday, Feb. 12.
“The call for children to donate pennies to disaster relief organizations in honor of President Lincoln is in the spirit of Lincoln himself,” said Dr. Jeffrey J. Crow, North Carolina’s liaison to the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources, Office of Archives and History.
North Carolina is not itself conducting a fund-raising solicitation, nor collecting funds. The intended effect of the appeal is simple -- children are asked to donate pennies to the disaster relief organization of their choice, with whatever help parents, teachers, and perhaps churches, choose to provide.
“This is one way to give children experience in public service and to educate them about Lincoln, whose Emancipation Proclamation heralded the end of slavery and who promised ‘to bind up the nation’s wounds.’ It is fitting that this call comes in Black History Month,” noted Crow. Louisiana’s Abraham Lincoln Commission started the penny rolling for the initiative, through the desire of survivors of Hurricane Katrina to help others similarly affected. Positive aspects of this national appeal are continued education of children, and through them of adults, about Lincoln’s contributions to America. The initiative could reach many adults who have not yet heard of the Bicentennial.
Lincoln biographer Daniel Mark Epstein wrote in support of this appeal to children and recalled Lincoln’s loss of two sons, his love of children and his compassion. “In our pockets we carry a token reminder of Lincoln, the man and his goodness,” said Epstein “He would be very gratified and proud to know that the children of America are gathering pennies in Lincoln's name to contribute to the cause of the children of Haiti. It is an honor to Lincoln's memory and the charitable principles that guided him throughout his life."
(The board of ALBC, the national Lincoln Commission, has endorsed this appeal. The Office of Archives and History is in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina’s arts, history and culture, www.ncculture.com.)
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