Abraham Lincoln

Bicentennial Subcommittee

Our purpose during the commemoration of the Lincoln Bicentennial is threefold. First, we will highlight the commonality between Dr. King and Abraham Lincoln. Both of these great men became enmeshed in the struggle for racial equality and the unification and healing of our nation. Lincoln reminded us that we were not North and South, but one nation. King reminded us we were more than Black and white, but one people.

Second, we will educate the public about Lincoln's deep Virginia roots. His great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents lived in Virginia; his parents met, married, and lived for a time in the Shenandoah Valley; his great-grandparents and multiple relatives are buried in Virginia in the Lincoln Cemetery at the Lincoln Family Homestead in Rockingham County. There are Lincoln descendants living in the Shenandoah Valley today. During the Civil War, Lincoln's family in Virginia were slave owners and Confederates, and he visited several Virginia localities, including Petersburg and Richmond, the Confederate capital, in April 1865, just a few days prior to his death. Abraham Lincoln is a central figure in American history, and he is inextricably and forever a part of the social fabric of the Commonwealth. Lincoln desired "not only to save his country, but also to make it worthy of the saving, a place where all would have the right to rise."

Last, we are initiating and supporting endeavors that appropriately consider the historical and social context of the Lincoln presidency, and that illuminate his sacrifices and fervent determination to preserve the experiment in democracy birthed in the union of states called the United States of America. Lincoln guided the country through the most devastating experience in our national history. Regardless of our sensibilities and loyalties towards Abraham Lincoln, we, too, can "resolve that the brave men of the Union and the Confederacy shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." These principles resonate with all of us and endure as a core part of the American value system. Therefore, it is both "fitting and proper" to remember and celebrate the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, whose leadership during a dark and difficult time reminds us today that we are "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

House Bill 527 (2012) Virginia Slavery Commission

During the 2012 Session of the General Assembly, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission was directed to incorporate the objectives of House Bill 527, (Delegate McQuinn), into its work. House Bill 527 would address the contemporary political, economic, educational, and societal issues and public policies whose roots lie in the transatlantic slave trade. Other issues would involve (i) identifying the vestiges and assessing the effects of the transatlantic slave trade on African Americans, the Commonwealth, and modern societal problems and public policies, (ii) exploring and showcasing the contributions of African Americans in building Virginia and the nation, (iii) determining the educational and economic value to the Commonwealth of preserving sites and facilities of historic and archaeological significance to African American culture and contributions, and (iv) recommending feasible and appropriate options to resolve lingering societal problems whose roots lie in slavery.

Slave Photos and Resources

Subcommittee Members

  • Dr. Robert C. Vaughan, III, Subcommittee Chairman
    President, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy
    Charlottesville, VA
  • The Honorable Jennifer L. McClellan, Commission Vice Chairwoman
    Richmond, VA
  • The Honorable William C. Cleveland
    Former Mayor of the City of Alexandria
    Alexandria, VA
  • Mr. Charles Withers
    Commission Member
    Roanoke, VA
  • Ms. Betsy S. Barton
    History Specialist for Elementary School History and Social Science
    Virginia Department of Education
    Richmond, VA
  • Ms. Autumn Barrett
    Assistant Director, Institute for Historical Biology
    The College of William and Mary
    Williamsburg, VA
  • The Honorable Viola O. Baskerville
    Former Secretary of Administration
    Richmond, VA
  • Dr. Michael L. Blakey
    Director, Institute for Historical Biology
    The College of William and Mary
    Williamsburg, VA
  • Ms. Lynne M. Bland
    K-12 Social Studies Specialist
    Chesterfield County Public Schools
    Richmond, VA
  • Mr. Jeffry Burden
    Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
    Richmond, VA
  • Ms. Veronica A. Davis
    Hampton, VA
  • Dr. Theodore C. DeLaney
    Associate Professor of History
    Washington and Lee University
    Lexington, VA
  • Ms. Ana Edwards Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
    Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
    Richmond, VA
  • Mr. Gregg Kimball
    Director, Public Services and Outreach
    Library of Virginia
  • Dr. John J. McGlennon
    Chairman, Government Department
    College of William and Mary
    Williamsburg, VA
  • Lauranett L. Lee, Ph.D.
    Curator of African American History
    Virginia Historical Society
    Richmond, VA
  • The Honorable Brian Moore
    Mayor, City of Petersburg
    Petersburg, VA
  • Dr. Phillip Stone
    Attorney and Former President
    Bridgewater College
    Harrisonburg, VA
  • Dr. Beverly Thurston
    Coordinator, History and the Social Science
    Virginia Department of Education
    Richmond, VA
  • Shawn O. Utsey, Ph.D.
    Chair, Department of African American Studies
    Professor of Psychology
    Virginia Commonwealth University
    Richmond, VA
  • The Honorable Delores L. McQuinn
    Member, Virginia House of Delegates
    Ex Officio