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Lecture to Explore the Pairing of Two Historical Giants

Washington – Abraham Lincoln and Mexico’s Benito Juárez never met in person, but they were historical contemporaries who shared a love of liberty and similar life stories.  They are often linked in public memory.

On October 28, at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, University of Chicago Professor Ramón Gutiérrez will explore the meaning behind the pairing of these two historical giants in a public lecture.

The program is free and begins at 6:30 p.m.  A reception precedes the event at 5:30 p.m.

“Lincoln & Juárez: In Myth and Memory” is a free program sponsored by the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and presented in partnership with the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Chicago History Museum, and the Newberry Library.  Major funding is provided by Institute of Museum and Library Services.  Seating is limited and reservations are encouraged by calling the NMMA at 312-738-1503 ext. 3907.  More information can be found on the Web site www.abrahamlincoln200.org 

"Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juarez never met, never had any extensive communication, yet in the minds of many the two are linked,” said Dr. Gutiérrez.  “This lecture will explore how and why people remember events and connect seemingly disconnected things."

Dr. Ramón Gutiérrez is a renowned scholar, teacher and author. He is the Preston & Morton Distinguished Service Professor of History at the University of Chicago, and also serves as the director for the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. His research focuses mainly in the American Southwest and in Latin America where he studies race and gender issues surrounding the Latino community.  Currently Dr. Gutiérrez is researching the life of political activist Reies López Tijerina. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Tijerina was one of the leaders of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, and he strove to reclaim New Mexican land rights for the Spanish colonial and Mexican descendents.

Outwardly, Lincoln and Juárez could not have been more different. Lincoln was tall and angular; Juárez short and stocky. Lincoln was of old American stock, Juárez a full-blooded Zapotec.  It is not known exactly when Juárez came to Lincoln's attention, but in 1861, Lincoln sent him a message expressing hope "for the liberty of .. your government and its people.”  The bond between the two leaders was strengthened when Lincoln supported Juárez’s resistance efforts against France, which had invaded Mexico and captured Mexico City in 1863.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that minorities, which now account for roughly one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority in 2042.  By 2050, the Census Bureau projects the nation will be 54 percent minority.  Even sooner, by 2023, minorities will comprise more than half of all children.

“The values of freedom and democracy, which Lincoln so eloquently articulated, are immutable – and universal,” said Eileen Mackevich, ALBC executive director. “Juárez valiantly fought for the same values in Mexico at the same time Lincoln was fighting for them in the United States.  That’s a large part of why these two men are linked in popular memory.  Dr. Gutiérrez will share with us how we can better understand these two men and how they continue to inspire people today.”



“Lincoln and Juárez: In Myth and Memory”

A Lecture by Dr. Ramón Gutiérrez




Dr. Ramón Gutiérrez

Preston & Morton Distinguished Service Professor of History

University of Chicago




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

   *Reception at 5:30 p.m.

   *Program at 6:30 p.m.




National Museum of Mexican American Art

1852 West 19th Street



About the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission & Foundation

Congress established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to recommend appropriate ways to commemorate the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln in 2009.  The Commission is predicated on the premise that it will function as a public-private partnership.  Congress appropriates funds for administration.  Private funding is necessary, however, to produce programs, events and materials planned for the Bicentennial.  To support the public-private partnership, and insure that Lincoln activities continue into the future, the Commission established the ALBC Foundation [a 501(c)(3) based in Washington DC]  in 2007.  For more information, please visit www.abrahamlincoln200.org.